Please note that in this post I am not commenting on anything involved in any case or any specifics in regards to jury duty. I will only comment on the experience I had on Friday while waiting to be selected for the specific jury I am now placed on.
I get called for Jury Duty at least once a year, since you only have to serve every three years in the state of Massachusetts I can usually get out of it, however, this year my time was up and I had to report to the courthouse at 8:00 am on Friday. I was hoping that I would be lucky enough to be dismissed but as the day progressed I realized that this wouldn't happen.
When I arrived at 8am I checked in and took my seat in the jury room and waited for over an hour and a half for the last person to arrive. Silly me, I thought that reporting on time to jury duty was a necessity. So in this 90 minutes I read quite a few pages of A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson was actually making my early morning of sitting and waiting quite enjoyable. At 9:30, they put on this obnoxious video telling you that Jury Duty will be the best experience of your life. Oh please, if Jury Duty was the best experience of anybodies life don't you think it would be easier to get people here, I mean at least people would show up on time, and I have served on a jury, not even up in the top 10 of best things that have ever happened to me.
Around 10:00 they started calling numbers and lining people up to go to courtrooms. My number (148) was called and they lined us up in a hallway outside of the jury room. They kept us lined up in this hallway for about 30 minutes. They then stuffed about 20 of us into a very crowded elevator and brought us up into a courtroom. This courtroom had about 100 seats and about 180 people packed into it so I spent close to an hour standing up waiting for people to move or be dismissed. I finally got a seat and continued to read. However, Bill got me in a little bit of trouble because if you have ever read any of his books you know there are moments where you need to laugh out loud, so I did, and apparently laughing in a courtroom is frowned upon. By 1:00pm they had only gotten to number 50 and they let us break for a one hour lunch. I practically ran out of the courtroom but still had to wait for the elevator for 10 minutes, got downstairs, and was greeted by a blustery wind blown snowstorm outside. Great this is the perfect Friday.
I reported back to the courtroom as I was told to about 10 minutes before I was expected and sat down on a bench and began reading once again. About five minutes later when there were about 15 people in the courtroom a court officer came in and told us we weren't allowed to be in there. We were asked to leave and sit outside (err stand outside) and a court officer would bring us in when they were ready for us. Twenty minutes later (fifteen minutes late) they brought us back into the courtroom and continued to call everybody up individually. By 4:00pm they finally called my number and asked me to the sidebar. I had read 170 pages since the morning which was quite a feat considering how slow I read. The judge asked me a series of questions, all of which I answered truthfully but shortly and with a twinge of frustration in my voice (I do this very well) and he asked me to step away from the bench and both sides discuss whether I will be a good juror.
The judge calls me back up and explains that he understands that serving is a hardship for everybody but because it is you civic duty and he sees no specific reason to dismiss me he is going to have to ask me to be on the jury.
SHIT. I have so much work to do and I just spent an entire day in the courthouse. I really don't want to be on this damn case that is going to take a good portion of my week. This is one of those occasions when I would much rather be at work. Plus, I now need to go into work this weekend to get stuff done, and finish payroll so all of my employees get paid. But really this is supposed to be the greatest experience of you life? Give me a break!
By the way I also finished reading A Walk in the Woods this weekend as I laid in bed with a stomach bug. If you have never read any Bill Bryson I highly recommend him. He is an insanely smart man who is also hilarious. His dry sense of humor keeps you wanting more. I read 274 pages in 3 days, now that is quite a feat for a slow reader such as myself.