Friday, February 11, 2011

Heh heh -- I said "duty"

So, I had jury duty this week. But, it's actually a lot more interesting than that!

Now, it's been 15 years since I turned 18.

The first time I got a jury duty summons, I was in college. No vehicle. So I had to take a bus from Boston out to Western Mass. After I got there, I called the number that they tell you to call the night before. Apparently my pool wasn't selected to attend, so I had officially fulfilled my jury duty requirement. I took a bus back the next day. Why didn't I wait to take the bus until after I called? Because it's basically a 4+ hour excursion to go from campus to Harvard Square to South Station and wait for a bus to head to Springfield then to Northampton. I wouldn't have made it.

The second time I got a jury duty summons I was moving from Dekalb County to Cobb County. I didn't have to serve.

Then, in January I got my summons for Cobb County.

Crap. I can't just up and move to get out of it. I decided to not put off the pain even though it was a bad time (the random follow-up time would have been just as inconvenient, most likely). So, I suck it up.

Apparently I didn't read it right (or ignored it Mother told me when she said I had told her before) but the night or two before I learned it wasn't jury duty for one day... it was jury duty for ONE WEEK!

Yes, kids -- ONE WEEK!

I thought being out of work for a day was going to be bad, but the potential of being out for a week is ridiculous.

But, I suck it up.

I showed up Monday at 8:30, as ordered. I check in. I sit down and am waiting for whatever is supposed to happen.

The Judge shows up and gives the opening statements greeting us and telling us how awesome we are just by being there. It sounds like BS, but it also sounds about as legit, so I figure it's fine. I mean, "just by being [t]here, we're making justice happen!"

During these statements, I look over to the opposite side and see someone who looks familiar.

Very familiar. WORK FAMILIAR! But I can't get a name for the life of me (It happens before 9:30). But I'm in luck! They're going to be displaying which jury pool we're in on the screens, so I can find the name that way!

The names are going by real quickly, then I see her name! I couldn't remember my boss's boss's name. (Well, technically my boss's boss's boss, but that's splitting hairs). I've met her in a few meet and greets, but seriously didn't think she'd remember me.

So I see her trying to look for her name on the board. I go to her and tell her she's in pool 10. She looks at me and pretty much knows who I am (although I don't know if she had a name or not... later she said my name, but I don't know if she went to ask people who I am through emails or happened to see it on my jury duty summons or if she's really that good). And we're talking. And I said "What are the chances of two of us from The Company being in jury duty together?"

She said "Three. So-and-so from Tax is over there."

So, we all create a little click together and talk and network the first morning. Talking about everything from Glee to kids and on.

10:00 comes and we're told if we parked at the library, we should go get our vehicles at lunch and move them to the closer parking lot (guess what, that's me.. also boss's boss). We really didn't feel like doing all that...

11:00 comes and we're informed pools 1-4 are allowed to go to lunch until 1:30, but the rest of us must stay.

11:30 comes and the rest of us are told we can go to lunch. I asked if we HAD to move our vehicles, and jury duty lady said we didn't, but she suggested it because there won't be transportation back.

My boss's boss asks us where we want to go. We really don't care, as long as we get out of the courthouse. We manage to find Shillings on the Square. And let me tell you it was GOOD!

In the middle of lunch, she starts asking random work things. I joke, "If we're going to talk work, we need to expense lunch." -- she replied "I was already planning on buying lunch." -- I was like "You don't have to do that, but thanks!"

So, it was an even cooler lunch as I got to talk. And, in the middle of eating, we somehow got to talking about tickets and stuff. I asked if The Company had box seats to non-sporting events and she said they do. So, I half-jokingly asked if I could have NKOTBSB tickets when they're in town. She said if nobody else wants them, I can have them. SCORE! That means I hafta remember in June to remind her of her promise! :)

We get back to the courthouse and start to settle in. Then we decide to quickly run to get coffee (chai in my case) to get a little caffeine to wake up. Then we sit and wait... and wait.. and wait...

Finally, about 2:30, the jury duty leader lady comes in and says "Thanks to y'all being here, we moved through 27 cases! So, your being here helped justice happen." -- then told us everyone but pools 1-4 can go home. WOOHOO! I'm in 7!

So, we pack up and head downstairs. Then we realize we don't know the most efficient route to the library. So we ask a bailiff how to get back. He goes and calls someone to give us a ride. NOT what we expected, but thank you! On the way back we get to the library and my reaction was "That's the distance? You're KIDDING me. We could have WALKED that in the time it took you to get the van!"

We were told to call back the jury voicemail line after 6pm to hear our instructions for Tuesday. So, I did and found out we were due to be there for 9:30 the next day.

A little later that evening, I got an email from my boss's boss saying "Yep.. see you in the morning!" -- then she emailed me asking if my license plate was something. I told her it was, but was kinda confused a little.

The following morning, we met up in the courtroom. Started chit-chatting and stuff. She brought up that I caused a song to get stuck in her head thanks to my license plate. I kinda giggled. This is also when I pointed out that not only were there three of us from The Company together, but I work on the 14th floor of the SE tower, Tax-Person works on the 14th floor of the SW tower, and Boss's Boss works on the 14th floor of the N tower. That's all three towers and 14th floor. How much more coincidence can you get?

About 9:45, jury pools 1, 2, and 3 were called back (and a couple additional people because I guess the pools were incomplete?). One of the poor people did not seem like he was all the way there. I mean, he was carrying a couple Publix plastic bags full of bunched up clothes. Kinda like I do when I go visit fambly... throw my dirty clothes in bags... But, I digress... I wasn't on the pool.

This is when I did math. There were 120 of us in the room (although there's usually more it seems, but we'll take that number). Multiply that by $25/day. 5 days a week. 50 weeks a year. That's $780,000/year of our taxpayer money (unless they come from court fees, but still!)

About 10:45 or so, jury coordinator lady comes in and says "I have good news..."

Everyone starts grumbling and groaning, so I proclaim "WOOHOO!!!!!" causing peeps to kinda giggle and lighten the mood.

Jury coordinator lady says "Because you were here, the two cases we've kept you here for were taken care of, so you can go home! One was a really messy divorce and they decided on a bench trial, and the other was a 15-count child abuse case, and they took a plea. And, since justice has been taken care of, you're free to go!"

In our little click, we said it would have been fun to be on the divorce case, but if any of us was on the child abuse case, the person would have FRIED!

So, we left. Had great conversations with boss's boss on the way to our cars and she's actually a VERY COOL person! I like her!

6pm Tuesday I called and we were told we didn't have to come in Wednesday. So I got to go to work. Yay!

6pm Wednesday, I called and we were told we didn't have to return the remainder of the week.

So, my jury duty was a lot of sitting around, but I did get to network some, so it was all cool. And I can't wait to see NKOTBSB! Who wants to go with?

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