Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Civic Duty

Yes, that white envelope with the red stripe came in the mail about a month ago. You know, the one that you cringe seeing and want to shove through the shredder without opening. The envelope others see and are secretly (and not so secretly) delighted it came to you and not them. What, you ask, am I blabbering (pecking) about?

The big, bad JURY DUTY summons.

Like the 3 weeks I spent on a jury for a murder trial in 2001 wasn't good enough? You want me back?? Because WE THE JURY found the defendant guilty of 2nd degree murder, you still want me back?? Torturing me with the murder of a small child by her foster mother wasn't bad enough for you and you want me back for more horror? Egads!

Well, as luck would have it, I didn't need to appear in County Seat Courthouse until 12:30, so I got to sleep in a little (the walk down the stairs to my home office was a short one vs. the 53 mile one way commute!). Of course, being the prompt little gal that I am, I left way too early just in case I got lost, couldn't find parking, tripped over a homeless person, or got mugged on the way from the parking garage to the Courthouse (in the not-so-lovely, scary County Seat Big City).

Luck was with me again. I had no problems getting to the Jury Room by 11:45, and I even helped a first-timer find her way through the morass. And there we sat until 1:00. At which time, we got to watch a video in all its commercial-like glory on what an honor it is for us to serve our community by doing our civic duty as jurors. I mean, hello, we were all drooling to sit on a jury panel by the time the video ended (NOT!).

Then I was called into a jury pool along with 74 other people. A jury pool for a 3 week stint on a criminal grand jury. No way, Jose. As much fun as that would have been (coming from a person who has many years of legal experience under her belt), I'm too busy at work this time of year, plus my great agent search is in full swing with a new query letter, plus I'm starting work on revisions of a first draft novel, plus Thanksgiving vacation time, etc. etc. Of course, I don't voice my excuses because they don't register on the Legislative excuse meter.

But 25 or so other people were excused because they did register on the excuse meter. Most were legitimate excuses, i.e. personal hardships. Yep, we all got to sit there and listen to them all. So there I sat, as they read off the random selected names of 23 people (half of us left in the room) to serve on a grand jury panel of 19, plus 4 alternates. I held my breath. 22 names were read off...then the final one was read. And it WASN'T me! Woohoo!!!! I was free until at least January 1, 2010. Yeehaw! I'm outta there.

There you have it. The day in the life of a prospective juror.

Then I got home and in my email was an agent's request to read my manuscript. The day just got a whole lot better!

Have a great week!