A jury? This bunch of cattle?

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Since inquiring minds want to know what happened yesterday at Jury Duty, here’s the not-so-quick ‘n dirty.

I got up pretty much at my usual go-to-work time and got ready, leaving the house actually 20 minutes earlier than I normally need to. So, any belief that Jury Duty is a “day off” was completely out the window. Atlanta traffic is not too bad yet at 6:30 in the morning, but that’s like saying Niagara Falls, when compared to the ocean, only has a little water in it—it’s all relative.

I banked a little extra time into my commute because I avoid downtown Atlanta like the plague normally and I inevitably get lost whenever I go down there, especially when it’s still dark outside and I’m trying to drive and read a map at the same time. I’m still not sure what happened when I exited off the interstate. I was heading south and the summons’ directions said “turn east” which would be left, but then either their directions were wrong, or I just completely missed the turnoff, because I ended up running in circles (or rather squares) and got back on I-20 and had to turn all the way around. It was blind luck really that I finally stumbled upon the Orange Parking lot at Turner Field where they let jurors park for free.

But I parked around 7:15 and just missed the bus over to the courthouse, so I sat in my truck waiting on the next. It came and I and a bus full of folks headed over to the courthouse. When we arrived, we had to run across the street because there was no crosswalk. People were honking at all the jaywalkers, while we, presumably, were all angry that they weren’t showing a little more respect towards us, the keepers of the law.

When we walked into the courthouse, there was a tiny little paper sign that said, “Jurors report to the 7th floor.”  Now, I’ve seen enough Law and Order to know that you don’t just walk into a courthouse right? I mean, there are security screenings and what-not, so I bucked the trend and got in line for the security screening while probably 75 others lounged around apparently figuring that as soon as the courthouse opened at 8:30, they’d be able to hop on the elevators and go up. Turns out, I was the smart one because the security guard almost immediately explained what needed to happen and I found myself about 25th in line for the security screen and by the time I got through, there were probably 300 people in line behind me.

Yep, at least 300 people all there for standby Jury Duty. Talk about over-estimating.

So, I got upstairs and walked up to the clerk’s desk and said, “Hi, I pulled my back out last Thursday and I’m on some heavy pain medication, and sitting is gonna kill me. Can I get a waiver?”

Apparently, she’d heard this excuse only a few thousand times and looked at me with a sort of, “Oh reeeeaaaalllly” look and said, “The best I can do is give you a postponement.” I said, “I’ll take it!” and flashed her my best pained smile.

Jury Duty rescheduled, I triumphantly dragged a leg back downstairs where I had to fight through the Disney-like crowd of people standing in the kind of back and forth lines they use to maximize space, and suddenly I found myself out in the open air again. Free!

I was also right in the thick of rush-hour traffic in downtown Atlanta; but all things considered, I was thrilled. Course, my plan for getting out of jury duty and taking the remainder of the day off was dashed when I realized that I’d have to use the Jury Duty excuse again in a month and a half and it would look suspicious having it back to back so quickly. So, I dutifully headed home and put in a fairly honest day’s work from my home office.

So I’ll be back down there on Cinco de Mayo and praying that I won’t end up serving on a trial that lasts through CareerMom’s birthday on the 7th. Which means, I’d better go now and get her card and gift in case I’m stuck in a room with 11 other people downtown when the time comes.

It’s never really easy is it?

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One thought on “A jury? This bunch of cattle?

    Allison said:
    March 25, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    So fun to outsmart 300 people 🙂

    Ugh to the driving and crosswalk situation. I think I’ll stick with my modest-sized city. I’ve been to Atlanta once. I went to a conference in there several years ago….I wasn’t permitted a rental car and I didn’t recognize any of the foods listed on menu of the ridiculously fancy hotel restaurant…so I set off on foot to find sustenance. Getting there was fine, but a homeless man trailed me almost the whole way back to the hotel asking for money until a guy intervened on my behalf.

    I really don’t know how any of that relates to your jury duty tale…it’s just that when I hear Atlanta, I always have these visceral flashbacks.

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