Sunday, January 4, 2009

In a Heavy Jacket

This morning I had jury duty. When I got the letter in the mail to appear as a grand juror, I felt a little uneasy. The government and taxes and important documents make me uncomfortable because when you deal with them, you are dealing with something important and unforgiving. These people have no sense of humor, they don't usually take excuses, and they have no face.

Being an adult doesn't really mean anything until you are asked to do something you don't want to do.

I walked into a large building with giant white pillars and was immediately asked to remove the contents of my pockets. The men at the security desk seemed vaguely annoyed that I was wearing a belt (after they had neglected to ask me to remove it). The room I was assigned to wait in was overflowing into the hallway. People leaned against walls and waited quietly for someone (anyone) to tell them what to do.

There was a man at the bottom of the staircase talking to someone on his cell phone. He asked the person on the other end of the line if they knew what the cause of death was. He said that she was always deathly afraid of the cold. They are going to bury her in a heavy jacket.

We were filed into one room and then another, each bench as uncomfortable as the last. Luckily I brought my book, which allowed me to travel freely between the court house and Culver Creek Boarding School. An officer with a gray mustache and a shaved head assigned each person a number. The final room that we filed into, the court room, reminded me of every courtroom drama I had ever seen. The proceedings felt like a mix between a lecture and an incredibly boring stage play. I made sure not to cross my legs, lest anyone see my pink socks. On the wall was a large clock with a pendulum moving back and fourth, exhausted. The judge explained what a grand jury is and how often one might expect to show for jury duty and then asked if there were any people that had extenuating circumstances that would make it difficult to serve. Minutes later I approached the judge and explained my situation. I told him that I am a student and that it would be incredibly inconvenient if I were to be chosen to serve on a grand jury. He was kind and seemed like the only person happy to be there. On my way out I asked the man at the door if I had to check out or anything. "Nope." He said. "That's it."

Yesterday I made a grilled cheese sandwich with a bagel. It was kind of a disappointment.

Drawings courtesy of Michael Crowley. The second is a picture of me as King Kong.

Speak easy,

1 comment:

Selina said...

Jury duty does seem frightening and you are so right about the government being an unforgiving faceless scary thing.

clable (for some reason this word makes me think of STDs)