What can I say? I’m not that mature, so the name of this particular entry was either gonna be a poop-related play on words or a riff on the phrase Hung Jury.
And given the jurors who spent two days in the pool with me…that was a viable option, or at least an option I wouldn’t mind investigating further.
So, here’s where I did my civic duty…well, lurking over the sidewalk next door to where I did my civic duty.The name of this sculpture is Portlandia. Her nickname is The Pull My Finger Statue. I didn’t coin that moniker, but I do live in the correct city for my particular taste in humor.
For the record, this is the second time I have had Jury Duty in my adult-ish life and the first time since 2006.
New Year’s Eve of 2006, to be precise, because that’s how my life works. Recently single, determined to mingle?
Nope. Jury Duty.
I only slept three hours the night before reporting for my first day of Jury Duty this time around. Why? Well, I went to bed at a perfectly respectable time. That’s not true. I intended to go to bed at a perfectly respectable time, like 9 pm, but got caught in a Netflix binge of Madam Secretary after being on the couch sick all day – I was sick all throughout my weekend, actually, since this is my life we’re talking about here…and it was the 4th of July holiday weekend – so I stayed up until midnight, rationalizing that I still had plenty of time for sleep before I was due to report the next morning.
Or, did I?
I woke up at 1 am; my body telling me that I urgently needed to use the bathroom. Which is pretty much where I stayed for the next three hours, not retching but still purging the wretched interloping virus from my body.
You know how.
I was happy to be able to cobble together another two hours of sleep – long enough for a REM cycle! – before having to get up in time to report for my 7:30 summons.
I was surprised at how short the line for courthouse security was. Apparently, I have uncommon knowledge when it comes to strategizing a minimal wait time at security. My summons was for 7:30, the courthouse opens at 7…get there a few minutes before to queue up.
As the French say, “Duh”. (No, try reading it with a French accent…)
Outside the Jury Room, I overheard the most enthusiastic effort at English ever by an Asian transplant…a moment before realizing she was running the Jury show. When my turn in front of her arrived, I handed her my summons and followed her gestures for cues as to what I was intended to do as if I was the one that didn’t have a full command of the language.
It must’ve worked, because I ended up sitting in the pool.
The leatherette office chairs were arranged in three rows, grouped five wide so the back rows were easy to access. I planted myself in the second row, second seat in the center section. Right before I realized that there was A) couches and breakroom style tables around the corner of this expansive room, and; B) a really cute punk-type guy sitting right in front of me. Well, actually, he was sitting in row one, seat four.
I decided to stay put.
What? It was gonna be a long day, based on my last experience. Might as well get a good view.
About then, a Norse God entered and took the seat closest to the door. Row one, seat three. No ring. What? I notice these things, it’s very practical.
This day was looking up.
I suspected that the punk-type guy might be more of an emo-type as he moodily put up the hood on his snug fitting thermal pullover as the Norse God’s ass hit the seat next to his. Unsure whether he was hiding from his feelings for the Norse God or hiding his insecurity around such a specimen of male perfection. News Flash: they were both on the spectrum of Completely Adorable. Just opposite poles.
Yay! Jury Duty!
Just then, Asian Julie McCoy took the podium with a clip on microphone in her hand.
The universe demands balance, so ya gotta take the good with the bad. Ok, I could just ogle the guys in front of me while she fractured my malleus, incus and stapes. Having no idea what she said, an old man in a navy blue blazer took the microphone from her and started in on…I dozed off.
Seriously. I did. Three hours of sleep?
I woke up in the same Jury Room, although somehow it was now in The Matrix universe because I could understand Asian Julie McCoy when she took the mic back. She was talking about a break – good, I had some unfinished business from last night – coming up after she described how the jury pool worked, but first…some trivia!
I had no idea the city of Boring, Oregon had a sister city, nor did I care until I learned that it is a city named Dull in Scotland. That’s pretty fucking funny.As I mentioned, after the previous sleepless evening I was not surprised that my body had a few last bugs it was eager to eject. Recalling the forcefulness of the ejections of last nights bugs, I was reluctant to use the bathroom in the Jury Room. After waiting for a break, I followed the signs for the Mens Room in the Multnomah County Courthouse. I ended up walking around thinking that the Mens Room seemed so clearly labeled at the other end of the hall, but following the directions on that signage led me to a corridor of closed doors, aside from the cheeky little gem pictured above.
Really? The only open door in the entire hallway – aside from the Jury Room – had a sign that said “Restricted Area”.
My bowels groaned their objection.
Wandering in a panic back to the original sign, I double checked the other doors, only to find a doorway wedged under the marble staircase that said “Men”.
Hopefully, that was the washroom. If not, I am always on the lookout for a potential boyfriend. Maybe this is where they store them.
So, that’s how I spent my break…hunkered down in a bathroom that looked like it would have been right at home with a malcontent ghost or a few wizardry students.
I wandered back in right before AJM re-took the podium to announce there was a call for a jury! She read off 30 or so names, none of which were mine and I went back to reading my latest James Patterson. Although, I gathered that emo/punk guy’s name was Anthony, based on his widened eyes and stiffened spine as some other Anthony was dispatched to weigh in on what was undoubtedly the crime of the century.
I’m a regular old Sherlock. Well, at least a Columbo.
The Norse God was getting antsy. I’d been watching him cross and recross his legs while seated and wet his lips as his eyes hungrily assessed other potential jurors.
Definitely a gay.
But that’s not the point. He had gotten up to stretch his legs and was returning to his seat and as I deliberated giving him a little wink, he turned on his heel and dropped into his seat. Ok, that’s not even the point. The point was that I got the treat of watching his fitted tee ride up just as his pants were riding down while his butt drifted toward its cushion. Thanks, universe…I’ll take the appearance of a marble carved-quarter slot as some sort of award for performing my civic duty.
Ms McCoy was back with more stand up and the promise of another pool of potential jurors being called. Apparently thinking that her assistant Randi’s home state was some high value trivia. We were to guess what state she was from – I can’t imagine audience participation going over well in this setting – and the only information we were given was that it wasn’t Oregon.
Ok, maybe audience participation was going to go over better than I thought. Admittedly, I forgot we were in Portland…we’re very friendly by nature.
“Randi, are you from California?!?”
<Blank stare from Randi>
“No! Does she even look like a Californian?” She didn’t. Two states down, 48 to go.
“Uh huh, Washington!” AJM exclaimed enthusiastically while shaking her head in the negatory.
Ok, that’s just confusing body language.
This went on for several more states until someone yelled out, “Give us a hint!”
“She’s not from Oregon. That was your hint!” Why did that sound so nice when she said it? When I typed it, it looked bitchy. This gal…she’s got a gift.
“Nevada? Uh huh!” still shaking her head no. What a tease…it turns out she was from Iowa. That wasn’t really worth the effort. Another two or three dozen folks were called, again, I was passed over. This happened a couple more times before we broke for lunch. None of my little cluster of Three Bored Men had been snatched up yet. I don’t know about them, but I left for lunch feeling a bit like the only unmolested Catholic boy in Boston.
What, too soon?
Anyway…after that rejection-fest, I considered treating myself to a Bing Mi sandwich to soothe my oft battered ego. Me being me – and hating the whole crowd rush that happens anytime a door opens in front of a group of people who have been held in one place too long – I waited a few minutes for the other prospective jurors to clear the door before I got out of my seat to feed myself. We had a 90 minute lunch, after all.
Upon hitting the street, I was rendered lazy by the combination of apathy from sitting in an enclosed space too long and my one active feline gene that wants to sprawl out on my back when confronted with sunlight…so I decided against the half dozen block trek to the carts where Bing Mi resides. Tasty Thai Sandwiches would have to wait. But, there’s a Subway nearby and I decided on a nominally healthy tuna sub for lunch.
I ended up at the McDonald’s next to Subway because I noticed emo/punk guy in line when I looked in the window. I don’t want to be that guy. Besides, I’m stuck on being attracted to guys in their 20s and I’m fairly judicious when it comes to eating at Subway because my inner Jiminy Cricket worries that every time I eat there that 6 months is shaved off the age of the guys I’m typically attracted to. I figure I have a couple of dozen trips left before the guys I hit on end up being jail bait.
So, McNuggets it was. I was about five nuggets into my lunch when it hit me that this was the McDonald’s that The Broken Poet aspired to work at before he…well, just click on the hyperlink. Having lost my appetite, I wandered back to the courthouse.
Bless AJM’s little heart, she tried to talk me into spending the remnants of the lunch break out in the park in front of the courthouse. “You might want to get as much sun as you can, no more break until 3 o’clock” she warned. I really like her.
I spent the rest of lunch reading the latest James Patterson under her side eyed pitying glances.
Norse God sauntered back in at the figurative bell, shopping bag in hand. I re-classed him as a Bridge and Tunnel Gay as I leaned forward to give him props for time management. He grinned and told me that there were a few things his wife had asked him to pick up.
I replayed the image of Asian Julie McCoy smiling and saying “Uh huh!” while shaking her head no. I leaned back and displayed some negative body language.
Twenty minutes after lunch, we were told that after a few directions, we were done for the day.
Ha. Now I could get out and enjoy all the sun!
And, just like she had Lucy-ed that “Hint” football away from us, she went on to explain that there were two potential juries that might still be called, but only 46 of us were needed to remain for that eventuality. Why did people not hate her for this peculiar behavior of hers?
She started calling out names to responses of dejected “Here”s. I waited on the edge of my seat, forgetting that I didn’t actually care if I stayed or went.
Woo! Heart racing, I realized maybe I didn’t necessarily care about staying or not, but not staying was kind of like winning…and I am a tad competitive. I began wondering how many names had been called from her 46 as more people mumbled “Here” upon hearing the death sentence proclamation for their afternoon.
Shit. How many of us can there reasonably be?!?
And a few anonymous and random potential jurors later I was on the sidewalk with instructions to return the following morning at 8:30.
So, I do. Like a good little citizen. Oddly, the line for security was even quicker today. Although, after clearing the x-ray, I caught part of a conversation happening with people who were having their bag checked while I had been waiting for my plastic bowl of possessions to complete its scan. I’m putting my belt back on and realizing that they are still going through that same bag when I hear, “Who’s coke is this?”
I casually glance over and decide I really need to get a coffee from the coffee cart located directly inside the security checkpoint just to see how this plays out. My casual glance revealed no soda cans or bottles but the son – I’m guessing – was now holding a pill bottle saying that he would just leave it outside as the mother – again, guessing – was protesting that she needed her coke.
What the fuck was going on here? Maybe I got too much sleep. Maybe I was still asleep!
OMG. Was this my psyche trying to tell me that I had overslept? I looked around, listening for anything that could possibly be my alarm blending into the background noise of my dream.
But they did call out that my coffee was ready.
I was reluctant to leave the surreal situation I was engrossed in, but it was 8:27…so I toddled off to the Jury Room, check in and resume my seat from the day prior. It’s not creepy. I noticed that emo/punk guy was one section over; row three seat four.
I can just commit.
Tell your friends.
Your hot friends.
No uggos are boarding this train.
Norse God walked in and sat in the next section over, opposite side from emo/punk guy. My row, my seat. The subtle antagonism of his mirroring my position was not lost on me.
My delusions are strictly for my own personal enjoyment. I share them with you because I’m a giver. So, I guess my personal enjoyment is not that strictly enforced.
Once our Jury Cruise Director takes up with the mic, I try to tune out. But, she’s so damn chipper, it’s hard. She’s thanking us for coming back today “Even though you are required to come back, we still appreciate it!” Come on. That’s making conscription pretty fun, I’d build a pyramid for this woman.
She leaves the podium and I look up as someone’s phone rings in their pocket. Just like had happened yesterday, my EOG was a little miffed that people have to validate their existence with audible notifications.
You reading this Silver Fox? Hehe.
Twenty minutes later:Seriously.
There’s one in every crowd.
Why the men on either side of him didn’t murder him, I do not know.
At 10:10 the smokers start sending up delegates to inquire about break time. I hear poor Randi trying to soothe their nic-fits while telling them that they can’t let us have a break (after only 90 minutes, mind you) until they know the plan for the day.
This could get ugly.
By 10:20, I am on the street again, having been released not for a break but for good. No more juries needed for the day! Asian Julie McCoy sent us off with a rather clever parting shot, “I hope maybe we can have a reunion in two years and that you all come!”
That’s dad-caliber humor, right there.
I celebrate my early freedom with a check in at work as I consider going in for the day – since I don’t get paid for Jury Duty, did I mention that already? – but am assured that everything is under control. I’ve kept my inbox empty as I wasn’t being called, so I decide on a haircut.
Then to work out my childish demons over not being called for a jury – those demons specifically being a reminder of being the last called for any team sports activity in grade school – I decide to take the bike ride out The Springwater Trail that I missed over my weekend because I was sick.
Fuck you, Mother Nature. I still went.