the thought of being on a jury doesn't excite me to put it mildly. so when i made the call to the automated system sunday night and found out that juror # 2556707 was to report to the county courthouse monday morning at 10:00, you can use your imagination and figure out which choice words came spewing from my lips...
after going through a "mini homeland security check" in which i was questioned as to why i had a plastic baggie of coin in my purse, (figure that one out!) i enter what appears to be the "check-in" room, and i do. check in. seated in one of the first seats in which all 200 are pretty much taken, is none other than "nosey rosey" my next door "snoop dog" of a neighbor who watches our comings and goings like she watches her soaps. she seems happy to be there in a sick way. there she is reading some out-dated People magazine and like the idiot that she is, she looks up from her smut and asks me this, "what are you doing here?" ("oh i don't know..heard there was a sale on panties in aisle 17 and i had a coupon!") WTF! "quess some of us girls have all the luck." i respond and take a seat in the far back, away from the pain in my trailer park side...
i get about 25 pages read in my book when a blonde forty-something woman walks to the front of the room and tells us if she calls our name to answer "here" then take a "juror badge" from the woman at the door and line up in front of courtroom # 5. we are to wait there for further instructions. then i hear my name. f@*%&k!
That was at about 10:40 am. by noon i knew i was in trouble as i had just entered this new world of repetitive and redundant questions that required clarifying and then clarification and then more questions that required more clarifying! so 18 are "chosen" and i remained in the wooden-pewed seats. mr boose is one of the 18. he seems to have not bathed in at least a week or combed his hair for that matter. he is easily agitated and continually raises his hand to let the court know he has ADD and would like to be excused. apparently his mother is sleeping on the bench in the hallway and his disabled grandfatheris next to her. his pleads fall on unsympathetic ears. Mr vasquez in the middle row, juror 8 works at soledad prison and believes the defendant is guilty based on the numerous tats (including 1 of the number 14, a gang symbol) tatooed on his face. this causes an erruption and a shift in the line of questioning by both the d.a. and the public defenders that takes us well into the lunch hour and then past 3:00pm. several potential jurors are excused after lunch for various reasons, like ms jaramillo who hates police officers and could never trust one. several more names are called from "my group" but mine is not. they are sworn in to fill the vacant seats. i wait. the lights are bright and irritating, the seat is as hard as tree bark and the silence, deafening.
by 4:30 an african-american man, looking very haggard and holding in his possesion a plastic bag with toiletries; soiled underwear and various other used personal items raises his hand. then the raise becomes a wave. then, because he is not acknowledged by "the court" his wave becomes a flapping which is accompanied by an outburst: "IT'S 4:30 NOW!!"
i can hear the gurgling in my stomach and suddenly i do a quiet self-evaluation:
'i, too, am ready to have an outburst...'
4:40pm 6 more potential jurors are thanked and dismissed and there are now 8 vacant seats. we are now advised that we must return on wednesday at 9:00am as a jury has yet to be selected.
5:50pm i toss a few ice cubes in a tall glass and pour myself a light one with extra lime. for some reason, it feels like a much-deserved gift. ;)