chickarina: the melissa kirsch blog





A Totally Disappointing Jury Duty Experience

Here I am, on Day 2 of Jury Duty, ensconced in my study carrel in the “Jurors Lounge,” and dammit I feel like a chump.

Listen up, County Clerk, New York County. I did not ride my bike down here to sit on my ass doing my actual work with your Wi-Fi while you mysteriously had no cases for which you needed my desperate-to-adjudicate physical presence. After a 2.5-hour lunch during which I could not enjoy the sunlight and free time because I was thinking about what a total waste a good juror this whole exercise has been, how they are probably going to send me home after lunch and that is going to be IT, I am back at my study carrel doing more actual work and feeling really undervalued.

I’ve said it before. Civic duty is MY BAG. I like jury duty! Even though I’ve been on the run from it for about three years and only came this week because I got a very-realistic-looking threat to throw me in jail if I didn’t show! I love voting (got my voter confirmation in the mail yesterday, yes I will be voting in the primary, yes I am available for any/all exit polls, you can have my direct line, pollsters), as we all know.

Here is what I have to report, on location for probably my last five seconds at 111 Centre Street:

1. You people can stop calling your little invitation to breeze in at 9:30am (I was under the impression that JUSTICE DOES NOT SLEEP), use your air-conditioned offices, take a leisurely lunch and knock off at 3pm a SUMMONS. “IMPORTANT: JURY SUMMONS ENCLOSED”? You should have just sent me an eVite.

2. People dress up for jury duty. They don’t come in in their robes, as I was tempted to this morning. Why did I dress up like I was going to a job interview? Well I know why: I was totally psyched to smack the ball out of the park during the voir dire that NEVER HAPPENED. Now I know the real reason I wore this dress was so I could drool sriacha down my front while eating lunch and have to send a perfectly clean voir dire outfit to the dry cleaner.

3. I am that person you don’t want to be sitting next to at jury duty. Stricken with what I’ve been told is definitely a ragweed allergy, I have been sputtering and blowing my nose into my decorative Sniff travel hankies. Then whispering to my neighbor “Don’t worry — allergies!” to allay their inner monologue that was screaming: “Oh great, not only do I have jury duty, but I have to sit next to the woman with TB for the duration. This sucks.”

4. Last time I served was in August and there were no cases. Ditto the first week of September. People said that was good because you would only be on duty for a couple days and then let go early. These people did not take into account that I am chomping (champing?) at the bit to be sequestered in a Ramada Inn out by JFK, nor did they mention that if you don’t serve on a trial, they can haul you back in here in as few as two years. Two years! I’m here NOW. I want to serve NOW!

5. Access to MySpace is denied in the courthouse! How do you like that? Just like a real office!

It’s 2:27 on a Friday. There is still a slim chance they will have an urgent case. I need to be called in. I need to be called in FIRST so I get to be foreman because I would be so AWESOME at delivering the verdict and also because I know I would be the de facto leader of the jury deliberations anyway because I’d be so into it, and also so good at it, and also really ready to lead my fellow jurors in a spirited debate. I can just hear myself enunciating, all-Debra-Winger-in-Legal Eagles, about the shadow of a doubt. I live in the shadow of a doubt. This is my terrain. God I could shine brightly as jury foreman.

Meanwhile, there is zero difference between being here and being at my writing space–laptop, wi-fi, A/C, headphones, work. Did I mention I feel like a chump?

5 Responses to “A Totally Disappointing Jury Duty Experience”

  1. Ginger Says:

    Oh, my little lounge lizard. I guess like the rest of us you’ll just have to go home and watch “Matlock” to get your court fix.

  2. maggie Says:

    Tee hee. You are singular in your lament, but a funny one it is.

  3. Melissa Kirsch: *Blog* Says:

    [...] Instead of the “VOTE AQUI” signs that normally plaster the senior citizen’s home across the street where I vote, said citizens clearly saw an opportunity to snag some unsuspecting wannabe-voters and decided to throw a large, sprawling tag sale. It occurs to me that there is nothing to vote for in my district. Which is such a drag. I’d like to know when I am going to be eligible to vote again. After last week’s jury duty bust, my bureaucratic participation quotient (BPQ) is running dangerously low. [...]

  4. emily’s playground » Sweet Pre-Trial Discovery: Papabubble Says:

    [...] Loved this jury duty report from Melissa Kirsch, author of the fun and useful book, The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything. [...]

  5. Melissa Kirsch: *Blog* Says:

    [...] Longtime Chickarina readers won’t be surprised to read that I woke briskly at the [to this night owl] ridiculous hour of 5am today. I defy you to find a civic-duty-lover who can sleep one wink when it is time to vote. If loving voting is wrong I don’t want to be right! If trying to be the first person at the polls to increase my chances of fulfilling a lifelong dream of being in an exit poll is wrong, then you people are crazy. I have been dreaming of this day since my last aborted attempt to participate in a civic duty, which many will recall wistfully as The Terrible Jury Duty Debacle of ‘07. [...]

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