Last month on election day, irony was not lost. I encouraged PC and my friends and family to remember to vote. I mean after all “It’s our Civic Duty”. I came home to a jury summons. Not just that, but I was juror #25. The night before, you call the hotline on the summons to see if they need you. Sometimes juror #’s 500+ or something might get excused from even showing up. Yeah–twenty five–plan on it. Sometimes I think the Universe likes to make jokes at our expense. I actually don’t mind going. I am not the type to lie and make excuses or pretend to be a racist or strictly for/against the death penalty to avoid service. I was summoned several times when I lived in Tallahassee and was even picked to sit on a jury for a civil trial for a few days. I’ve narrowly avoided having to show up since being in Central Florida. I was called in Orange County on the day we closed on our house in another county and therefore was excused. I didn’t have any valid reasons to try to dodge it so instead of going back to work the Monday after Thanksgiving, I reported to the courthouse promptly at 8. I mean the notice did say “be in the juror assembly room promptly at 8am”. This is precisely where I put my Judgy Poodle hat on, so if you aren’t ready for a sarcastic fun-down of the day, now’s your chance to close the browser. Promptly at 8am is an instruction for people that run late. I live approximately 20 minutes from the courthouse, but being the (sometimes) responsible adult that I am, I gave myself 35 minutes “just in case”. I wasn’t familiar with the Seminole County Justice Center, or their parking arrangements. I realized somewhere about halfway there that I had a)not driven my car since before NC and was dangerously low on gas b) not grabbed coffee to go in the car and therefore equally as dangerously low on caffination–>directly related–>patience. I weighed the options and stopped for gas, coffee and a banana at the 7-11 and hurriedly got back on my way. Well it’s a good thing I rushed <insert first sarcastic eye roll here>. The line was wrapped around the building, and it turns out the courthouse doors do not even open until 8am. After finishing my coffee in line, I proceeded through the security line and jury check-in area and finally took my seat in the assembly room about 9am. Out of what I’d guess must be 300 chairs, I somehow end up next to a man with the most hideous breath. I am a coffee drinker. I understand needing a mint after some morning brew, but IF you brushed your teeth that morning, how on earth is your breath so bad by 9am that it smells as if something crapped in your mouth? I mouth breathed through the entire swearing in process and the video about earning our “badge of honor” for being a juror. This was immediately followed by the judge giving people with hardships an opportunity to line up and explain to him why they should be excused. Let the people watching begin. Ok I am lying, it began as soon as I showed up. But one by one, the excuses flowed, most getting denied, but the occasionally few being ushered out the door towards freedom. My favorite was the “I have a job” line one gentleman used, to which the judge calmly replied, “How unique, I am sure you are the only one in the room with a job.” Denied. I was called up pretty quickly from the main assembly room (the first group of 20 to be called) to the fourth floor courtrooms. They asked the first 4 people to sit in the benches and the other 16 to sit in the actual jury box for questioning. I was not in the front of the line. I was 6th. However being that two nice gentleman stopped to hold the door, I became fourth and managed to skip the questioning phase all together. They’d only bring up the last 4 of us if they struck down too many already in the box. Win. I proceeded to eat my banana and play Words with Friends and Candy Crush for several hours straight. Eventually they dismissed us for a short lunch and returned us to the main assembly room in case we needed to fill up other trials for that week. They didn’t. They finally freed us later in the afternoon. I made some additional people watching observations/thoughts through the day below.
- I am still debating if I am the stupid one that dressed nice for court–I mean showing up in PJ pants seems like a terrible idea, however maybe those people get excused faster?
- Personal hygiene is underrated. Stinky garbage mouth in the morning was not the last of the unfortunate smells throughout the day.
- Mr. Gym shorts (sagging) with a zip up hoody half-unzipped with no shirt underneath and greasy ponytail, when you are a grown man watching cartoons on your laptop in a room full of people, Emily Post would insist you use ear buds.
- Mr. Superman bling necklace…The only thing more amazing was the Superman logo shaved into the back of his head. I am sure he’s really a superman.
- Coughing, snorting, chewing ice and other obnoxious bodily noises should be kept to a minimum. If only they knew I was secretly murdering them in my head.
Well folks, that sums up Monday. Coming up next, Thanksgiving recap and Christmas preview.