Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jury Duty

Most people hate jury duty. They have to take a break from their lives to drive downtown and sit in a room full of other people for long periods of time until their badge number is called.

For me, it was an opportunity to read quietly in a comfortable chair in an air conditioned room and people-watch. And there were plenty of people to watch. The most amazing thing about it: These were the locals, the residents, not the tourists!

The process goes like this. I arrived at the parking garage, then hoofed it three blocks to the court house, a large, impressive building surrounded by palm trees. Inside, everyone went through "airport security", removing our shoes and throwing our bags on the conveyor. I'm sure my book A Prince of Norway by Kris Tualla was of great interest.

From there, I hiked up to the 3rd floor to Jury Services. The room was huge and full of thick, fluffy chairs armrest to armrest in long rows. It was like a movie theatre without the movie. I found an empty chairs, of which there were only a few and sat down to read. I'd gotten there a little early and the lady at the front desk told everyone we'd be starting at noon.

There is supposed to be an orientation, complete with movie, but there was too much going on yesterday and the movie didn't get shown. Darn. I so wanted to watch it! Instead, the group that was supposed to return by 12:45 from a break had to get lined up because a new case was being tried and they needed new jurors. Most of the people had gotten back in time, but there were a few stragglers who hadn't made it. The lady lined them up, across the room from the entryway doors. The line curled around the backside of the room, threaded through chairs, and ended at the windows facing the courtyard outside.

One name kept getting called and no one showed up until close to 1:00. She flounced her way into the room, swinging her hips so hard, she could've held up a hula hoop. This woman wore a huge brimmed black hat to match her black V-necked shirt and tight black pants. I saw her take off her hat to reveal bound white blonde tresses and black bug eyed sunglasses. I didn't think anything of it until I looked back up and realized she'd unbound those locks until they resembled the "Big Hair" bands from the 1980s. Hair was everywhere and she wore more makeup than Tammy Faye Baker at her most brilliant. Botoxed lips the color of unripe red grapes swelled below her nose, stretching the skin around her mouth. Wrinkles crowded around her eyes and cheeks, but I was struck by her determination! Wow, it was Lady GaGa's lesser known grandmother!

I saw her return a little later. Apparently, she'd been excused from the jury selection.

The woman upfront tried to finish the orientation, but it was just too busy for one person and she gave up. I settled back into reading until I heard another woman's voice say, "A kiss is definitely cheating." Hello, what? I looked up to an attractive young woman with long straight dark hair speaking with a man and an older woman two rows ahead of me. She added, "If I saw my husband kissing another woman, I'd kill him, and you'd all be here for my trial!" The other people laughed, but she wasn't kidding. "There's also emotional cheating." Apparently the man didn't know what that was, so she explained, "Emotional cheating is when you tell someone about your feelings and dreams and stuff, but they aren't your [spouse]. It still counts as cheating."

Good thing she cleared that up for him. Now he can accurately categorize what he's been doing! ;)

Ah, good old Vegas. You gotta love the characters who live here. I was dismissed at 2:30 and able to spend the afternoon with friends, so it worked out pretty well for me. Do you have any good jury duty stories?

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