I am writing this post, literally writing it in long hand, in a composition notebook while I sit captive waiting to see if I get selected as a jury member. Yup, you guessed it....I was summoned for jury duty. Lucky me! When I originally received the summons that last statement, "Lucky Me" did not have a hint of sarcasm in it. I get so excited when I receive a notice to appear for jury duty. I am by my own account a civic-minded nerd. I get super excited for election day- I get up early and head to the polls to cast my vote...I even drag the girls with me--I want to instill in them the importance of letting their voice be heard; especially as a woman. Waiting for the results to me is as electric as Christmas Eve. Sadly, living in Massachusetts more often than not my candidate does't win--but I don't let that deter me...I press on.
Fulfilling my civic obligation by showing up for jury duty is also something I strongly believe in. I know most people try to come up with a reason to be excused--not me--I see my summons letter as a golden ticket to watching first hand our legal system in action. I love me some Nancy Grace. I know most sane people find her to be more annoying than listening to nails on a chalkboard while strapped naked to a chair being rubbed with poison ivy. Not me!! Plus, I am her friend. She says so every night at the end of her show~ "Goodnight Friend." In addition to Miss Grace I am an avid court TV watcher. Jodi Arias trial~you bet I watched every minute of her and her crooked finger trying to get away with murder. Casey Anthony? Check! Still disgusted over that one. Seriously how can Jose Biaz and Cheney Mason sleep at night? Locally we have had some interesting cases in front of the court recently. Frustrated that cameras aren't allowed in Federal Court because I would have loved to watch the Bulger trial...but I have been following it through the media. I have been in front of the TV for all the Aaron Hernandez proceedings , even saw him arrested live on TV. Plus, if I or someone I loved were ever on trial I would hope for a jury full of conscientious jurors that take their obligation seriously.
Sooo, when I got my latest notice to appear I was excited. Maybe this was the time I would be called upon to render a decision~to decide someone's guilt or innocence...I get called for jury duty A LOT! This is my 5th time being called...I have never been selected for a jury though. Last year I was called for Federal Jury Duty. I had to call in every Friday for the entire summer. I figured I would have to appear at some point. Nope, never called.
But today here I sit in the jury holding unit. My excitement has long since faded. Stupid nerdy me showed up on time WITH all my paperwork filled out. Apparently the instructions they send you are just suggestions. My fellow jury pool members think the words "Arrive before 8 a.m." means stroll in anytime you want up until 9:45. "Bring you completed jury questionnaire with you" loosely translates to~ if you think of it, bring a crumpled up, coffee stained, blank copy of your questionnaire-or not, totally up to you.
So Miss Rule Follower is sitting here freshly showered (sadly I can't say the same for others), in ironed clothes writing in my notebook I brought in case I needed to take notes...instead I am writing a blog post to keep me from becoming a story on the local news, "Potential Juror Loses it and Attacks Smelly Fellow Potential Juror and Jackass Court Officer."
Since I am at the courthouse let me plead my case....
I arrive on time~with a packed lunch, snacks and a drink...yes, in a lunchbox with an icepack. I told you I was a nerd. I sign in and take my seat at 7:50~again, I was told to arrive BEFORE 8 a.m. At 8:15 they play a video explaining the importance of jury service...no need to explain it to me...come on, it is in the Constitution after all!
The video ends and the court officer tells us, basically, we are being held captive in this room until 1 p.m. Then a small break for lunch and back again until 4. Oh yeah, he adds there is no TV anymore...cable was too expensive...so the 4 large flat screen TVs will remain blank...there is no wi-fi and all you are allowed to drink in the courtrooms is bottled water. Not to fear, a lady comes in with a cart selling snacks and water. I only brought a can of Minute Maid Pink Lemonade that I just finished. Well it turns out she only takes cash. Awesome- I am hugely pregnant and constantly hot and thirsty. Since I am held prisoner I ask the court officer if he could run to the ATM for me, I explain that I am really going to need something to drink in the next 5 hours. Nope sorry! Then the little f*cker walks over, buys a bottle of water and starts drinking it in front of me! I wanted to kill him. I walk away mumbling about how the criminals are being treated with more respect than the law abiding citizens giving up their time and how with so much tax money going towards defending frivolous lawsuits brought against the state the least they could do was provide us with a flippin bottle of water. Apparently they have instituted a new rule that you are unable to leave the room, their reason was smokers would leave for a cigarette break and never come back...so we are all punished for their sins. This was not explained in any of the juror instructions, I know, I read them cover to cover before coming today. All the other times we have been able to go to the vending machine or court cafe...so I thought I was safe. So today of all days I decide to live like it is 2013~no cash, only plastic...no books or magazines, I only bring the ipad so I literally have nothing left to drink and nothing to do. It is about 85 degrees in here. I asked to turn on the AC. The jackass tells me it is already on the coolest setting. I have taken off my pretty shirt off and I am just wearing a tank top...I have decided if the court has no respect for me, I have no respect for it. My next move is to take one of these ungodly, uncomfortable chairs and move it into the bathroom. It is slightly cooler in there...plus I won't have to smell the stench from the old guy in the room that has been farting non stop since he sat down. I am tempted to take my pen cap and shove it up his ass to plug that sh*t up!!
I am sure my fellow jury pool members hate me- I am up and down to the bathroom every 5 minutes to pee but more importantly to cool off. I have sweat beads running down my back, under my boobs and belly and from my temples. I look hot and not in a good way. I am that A-hole that is sitting here snapping my gum...I need to do something with my building fury---I am about to let loose with a profanity laced, cranky, pregnant lady rant...or at the least knock the bottle of water out of that mother f*ckers hands.
I may be coming delerious from the heat. An idea just went through my head and for a fleeting moment it sounded rational. The plan was to write "Guilty" across my forehead with my purple pen and run around the room screaming, "he did it! he did it!! The voices in my head told me so!" My thought process being that they would have to dismiss me for the day. But for the moment I have thought better of it.
I have become so disillusioned in our justice system. If I didn't have my super accommodating, new sister in law I would have had to pay $80 for a sitter and $15 for parking to attend today. Pretty expensive price to pay for a mandatory civic obligation...then to be held a virtual prisoner on one of my precious few days off before the baby comes. I am almost certain the criminals downstairs have more rights than me and at this moment are probably sipping a nice, cold Poland Springs.
So here I sit writing my blog, where once again I find a bit of sanity in writing amidst the chaos that is my life. So thank you for listening...you have been instrumental in saving the life of a district court officer.
* At 10:57 I did start to lose my sh*t and announce loudly, "it is so frigging hot in here"...which did get the up until now silent group chatting...so that has helped ease some of my boredom. To be continued....
* I am going to switch careers. I am going to apply to be the court officer that sits guard over the potential jury pool. As far as I can tell it is the easiest job in the world. You cross people's names of a list, hit play for the video and then just sit, drink water and surf the net all the while ignoring the people you are holding against their will. I am sure they have good benefits, holidays off and a good pension.
* Just thinking out loud here...would it be wrong to go into the bathroom, splash water on the crotch of my pants and pretend my water broke? They would have to dismiss me, right? If they investigated I could always claim I peed myself and confused it for my water breaking...happens all the time.
*NOON...I AM FREE!!!!! I could not have run out of that room faster if a snake were chasing me. I am so coming up with an excuse next time I receive a summons in the mail...I have more than fulfilled my civic duty today.