Monday, January 25, 2010

JURY DUTY


Sleepless night last night...afraid that I would over sleep and be late to jury duty this morning. Finally got up and got the alarm clock and put it in the bed with me. Couldn't sleep...afraid I had not set it right...it was not the one I am used to. Set the alarm on my Palm Pilot...it always works...put it in the bed with me too. Couldn't sleep...too much stuff in my bed.

Finally drifted off...exactly 1 single minute before the alarms went off! And, they both worked. Needless worry. Very OCD.



Got up, got ready...make-up, teeth, hair, clothes...then out the door at 7:30. Is that enough time? I don't know...I still haven't gotten used to living on the other side of town. Well, we'll see. WAIT! Better take 2 minutes and stop at CVS and get me a Diet Dr. Pepper. Who knows how long I may have to sit and wait when I get there...and who knows if they even have a coke machine. (I know I said coke machine...and I meant Dr.Pepper machine...but this is the South, folks...everything here is a coke...and when some one asks for a soda, we do not know what they are talking about...unless you have been to another part of the country and they asked if you would like a soda, and you said, 'no thanks, I'd like a Dr.Pepper, please,' and they looked at you like you were crazy, and you wondered just who was crazy here, cause a soda means club soda and it isn't even good. And, that's a fact.) Now where was I?

So, I stopped and got 3 Diet Dr. Peppers and a big Snickers Bar...just in case. There may be so many bad guys to attend to we can't even break for lunch! Be Prepared is my motto. Better to over buy than over need!

Took off again for the court house. They asked on the summons how far it is round trip to there from your home. I do not have any idea. I am not very good at guesstimating things like that. So, I'll put 10 miles there and 10 miles back. That will make it easy for whoever to round it off. They may have had the same math teachers as me and need all the help they can get.



Why, oh, why do we have a court house parking lot that has 50 spaces in it? When they summons 150-200 people to come for jury duty...where should they park? And, why do they not understand that a body may have to ride around for nigh onto 30 minutes or so waiting for a parking space because the court house parking lot only has 50. I suppose the lawyers and the clerks and the judges and the secretaries all have to find a spot, too. And, they all got there before 8:00, and used up every available space. Finally I see a line of cars going into a parking lot back behind a church. And, I follow, hoping there will be just 1 left when I get there. I make my way across 4 lanes of traffic, get in line, and no, no there is not a place left. Everyone in line before me got a spot...I was the first one in line who did not have a place to park. There were not sweet words in my mouth at that moment! HOWEVER..ever watchful driver that I am, I happened to spot about 6 spaces in front of said church, that were not filled. There were no signs saying it was a sin to park there. And, so, being in the predicament that I found myself in at the moment...I pulled in and switched off the car. And, so did the next 5 people in line behind me. When I got out of my car, one after the other asked me, "Is it OK for us to park here?" Did I look like the parking attendant? "Sure", I said. "I feel just fine about parking here". And, I hurried on down the street, leaving them to figure it out for themselves. Me? I was going for it. Down the street...wind blowing...very cold...jacket in my arms.

Here's one of those "CAN'T BELIEVE PEOPLE ARE SO DUMB" stories. A group of about 10 of us arrive at the corner at the same time. We all stand there, stomping around like horses, trying to keep warm. We wait through 2 complete light cycles. The WALK sign never come up. When we walked up, Girl 1 said to Girl 2..."push the button." She meant the PUSH TO WALK BUTTON. After we've waited and waited and waited...Girl 1 says to Girl 2 "You did push the button, didn't you?" Girl 2 says, "No, I started to, but the cars started moving again, so I didn't need to!" Everyone out on the busiest street corner in Dothan on Monday morning at 8:00,immediately rolled their eyes in unison. THEN...out of nowhere...Girl 1 says, "Well I'm going anyway!" And, she takes off across the highway on the busiest street corner in Dothan. Cars screech to a stop...she keeps running. Halfway across, Girl 2 says, "I'm coming too!" And, off she goes...across that same busiest corner in Dothan. And, cars are blowing their horns and looking all kinds of ugly at those of us on the street corner...those of us following the laws of the great city of Dothan. I just waved, because I figured if they could act like stupid, so could I. No one waved back, however. A gentleman beside me said, "OK, PEOPLE! I HAVE PUSHED THE BUTTON!" And, we all gave him a round of applause, just as the WALK sign started blinking that we had only 24 seconds to make our way across. And, we did.



We walked into the lobby, the very small lobby, the lobby that is very, very crowded with people who are also arriving a little later than 8:00. There is one x-Ray machine and walk through that everyone must use. The crowd inside had somehow ...without anyone being in charge, and yelling directions... spun itself into a tight little spiral that started in the middle of the room and had about 6 concentric circles all moving together toward the X-ray machine. It was a beautiful thing. The circles kept going and going and going until the last person made it through. Team work!

We enter the holding room which could seat maybe 100 people...which left about 150 standing. Why do people walk into a crowded room and stop at the door instead of moving on into the room and making way for others to enter? Especially when they KNOW there are others to come...they just spent 20 minutes playing round goes the circle in the lobby? What happened to the teamwork?

Never mind...some questions will never be answered this side of Heaven. The lady in charge says she has some good news for everyone. Three of the judges have settled all the cases they had. YEA! 1 judge has not. BOO! Most everyone will be able to leave for good. YEA! But, 75 will have to stay. BOO! She says she does not know where to start the list for the 75...from the top or the middle or the bottom. She goes to ask the judge. She comes back and starts calling names. She calls way more than 75. Then I realize she is calling everyone's name first...to be sure they showed up! Then she starts over...she calls for a while...then stops...and says that we could go if she did not call our name. YEA! She did not call my name. Thank goodness! I am very happy. The 75 people whose name she called are most likely not happy. OUCH! I feel daggers hitting me in the back as I leave!

I made my way back down to the street corner that was not quite as busy now. Then down the street to the church...into my car (parked conveniently in the front) and out onto the street!

Jury Duty..2010...imagine what I could have written if I had had to be there all week!!!!

FYI: For the record...I do not mind having jury duty. I feel like it is part of our civic duty, and goes along with our responsibilities as a good citizen. That being said...every other time I have had it, I have gone everyday, and sat for hours waiting to be called for a case. Never have I been called. But, I have sat there long enough to put away every law breaker in the city. I'm just sayin'.

10 comments:

FBCHeadland said...

enjoyed the story of your day!

can you believe this history/government teacher, patriotic American citizen has NEVER been called to jury duty?

i'm one of the few people in the world who would like to be called, and they've never asked me! :)

Just Breathe said...

I usually don't mind going. I usually get called once a year.
I have served once. You are such a good writer, this was a nice read.

Kat said...

I've never had to sit in on a case either. Thank you Lord! It's always a frustrating time though getting there, etc. which you described with great humor. BTW...all that stress made you HAVE to have the snicker and Dr. Pepper on the way home, right?!

Hugs!
Kat

Keetha Broyles said...

What a fun read. I can just see all of you huddled by the cross walk button WITHOUT pushing it. LOL

Fisherhubby has been called for jury duty NUMEROUS times over our married years - - - several times he had to actually go, but then like you was not selected.

I was called once in all these years, and when I phoned the number I was told to call the night before, the case had been dismissed and I never had to go.

My story is not as fun as yours - - - but it is a story nonetheless.

Oh - - - and having lived in the south for 12 years, I KNEW a "coke" down there just meant a carbonated drink, and probably not a coke at all. Are you PROUD of me???

Actually, a FEW people in the mountains of SC where we lived still called them "dopes" instead of cokes - - - a long time hangover from when coca cola ACTUALLY had "dope" in it.

And that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

nancygrayce said...

Fun day! I have been called several times, but only served once.

Jewel said...

Oh the camaraderie! What a story!!

Southern Lady said...

I've been called twice and actually sat in the jury box the first time for about 20 minutes. Even though it was a land dispute, I was nervous about having to decide the fate of the people involved.

Loved your story, Tonja ... and I'm glad you were one of the lucky ones who got to go home.

Jillian, Inc said...

I have only been called for jury duty once and was actually chosen and had to sit through a 3 day trial for a guy who got shot in the face in a bar brawl and was suing the bar owner. Very interesting crowd of "witnesses", etc. And that is putting it mildly. Obviously the bar flies were all shady and I personall think the guy that got shot was honing in on the shooters drug turf and he knew he was in for some trouble. BUT! One cannot jump to any conclusions whilst on a jury so I held my tongue. But the thing that set me off was the photos the atty for the guy that got shot passed around. He wanted to show us how much the guy suffered, how he couldn't eat, talk, work....how his whole life was ruined. And there in the photo sat this guy with a baby on his lap, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and some sort of long straw contraption rigged up to reach a can of beer. And when we got to deliberations I was the only one who wanted to side with the bar owner and over the course of 10 hours I swayed all remaining 11 people to my side.

Musicaljean said...

Once again I was laughing my head off most of the way through this story!!!! You are just way too funny, but I love it.

I have never in my 58 years been called to jury duty. No idea how that happens.

Gram said...

I have had to go to the court house several times and have set there all day several times and never been called up to be questioned. Not sure how I would feel actually being on a jury - so much responsibility!

I wonder what you would do if someone from Colorado asked for a pop - that is what I grew up calling soft drinks - still do.