Thursday, December 10, 2015

Jury Duty

In my life, I'd only once been summoned to jury duty. It was in California and I was able to get out of it by having my employer write a letter. In all my 16 years of being eligible, I'd only been contacted that one time. Until last month. I received a card in the mail asking me about my availability this month. I immediately explained that this was JUST REALLY BAD TIMING. I'm a substitute teacher who typically doesn't have an issue with scheduling conflicts. But this time I am doing a long term job. A job where the teacher has specifically trained me to run her classroom. A job where, after ten consecutive days, I'd earn more money, retroactively.

They didn't care about any of that. I received my official summons in the mail. This was the week. I would need to start calling the night before to find out if I was needed.

On Monday they called roughly 100 jurors. I was number 310. (Six consecutive days on the job.)

On Tuesday they called another 170. I was now 40 away from being called. (Seven consecutive days on the job.)

On Wednesday they didn't call any jurors. I held my breath. Maybe there wouldn't be any trials scheduled for the rest of the week. (Eight consecutive days on the job.)

Last night I called in. They needed all the jurors through number 312. THREE ONE TWO. I WAS THREE ONE ZERO. I'd missed the luck train by THREE. (It would have been my ninth consecutive day on the job and I'd have been one day away from earning my pay raise.)

So this morning, I reported for jury duty. I lost my pay bump plus I lost today's pay. I made $18.50 to appear at the courthouse. That's not really the same. Not really at all. Immediately, the clerk told us that there weren't any trials scheduled for tomorrow so we didn't need to call in again. I'D REALLY MISSED THE LUCK TRAIN BY THREE!!!

I don't feel well. It feels like I'm swallowing razor blades but there's no sign of strep or fever or anything other than the symptom of being a champion sword swallower. Still, I popped throat lozenges and hopped in my car. See, last night I was all annoyed and mad and inconvenienced and upset and threatening to do crazy things like only speak in lines from movies.



Or something like that.

But today, I decided to make the best of it. Then I found out the trial was only supposed to last a day. That's when I decided I really wanted to get on the jury. I was already there. I might as well get to do something. But, I knew they'd never put me on a jury. That was part of my annoyed demeanor last night. Can't I just phone in and say, "Hey, you don't want me, right? My husband's a Baptist pastor. My father is with the sheriff's department and my brother-in-law is a lawyer. So...I don't actually need to drive up there, right?"

And that's exactly what happened. With each question, "Do you know anyone in law enforcement? How about law?" the defense eyed me longer. I was afraid they were going to start thinking I was lying just to get out of it. PLUS it was a domestic violence case where some dude (who actually stared at me a lot and creeped me out) allegedly beat up his wife. They ended up stacking the jury with men because, you know, we women folk would probably be more sympathetic to the allegedly beat up wife. We can't possibly be subjective.

It was still an interesting process though. And I kind of wish I hadn't been disqualified by all the people I know. I swore that I wouldn't allow my judgment to be clouded by my contacts but, apparently, they didn't believe me.

So I came home and curled up under a blanket and am currently practicing the fine art of NOT SWALLOWING. And that's the story of how I didn't get on a jury today.

The end.

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