my recent radio silence was due to fulfilling my civic duty. my jury summons came and i naively thought i’d be at the court house one day and back to work. i even thought this after 50 of us would-be jurors shuffled in to a court room for selection. i apparently didn’t pay attention to the number i had drawn, or the fact that i was already sitting in the juror box.

i’ll just say this now, i went in to the situation with unrealistic expectations. i wanted 12 angry men or law & order. unfortunately, real life courtrooms are pretty frumpy compared to their televised counterparts… i’ve been paying attention to legal dramas for quite some time.

i owe my grade school aspirations for law school to perry mason (never mind the fact that della street was the only leading lady in a secretarial role.) perry mason was the fearless defense attorney. the kind who would get to the bottom of anything. with the help of his very handsome private investigator, paul drake, even the most dire circumstances evaporated. each black and white episode would conclude with a dramatic outburst in the courtroom, the defendant walking, and a cozy shot of perry’s office where he, paul and della would banter as they shared a drink and a laugh. criminal cases never seemed more dreamy. it was the happy go-lucky spin that nancy drew gave to mysteries.

somewhere during middle school i realized i would have to hurdle more school and a scary test to become a lawyer. both unappealing options considering i just wanted to give cool speeches while wearing a smart suit in the courtroom.

you can understand how it took modern day real life jury duty to burst my romantic bubble. i was juror thirteen on a criminal narcotics case. we were a random bunch. since we were strangers, and couldn’t discuss the case on our down time yet, i had plenty of time to re-name everyone:

  1. “dad-joke” grandpa – loved puns and was the first to make the connection between my juror number and my medical counterpart on house. i envisioned him being the bossy type once deliberations started.
  2. larry david look alike
  3. washington – a grad student who wore a huskies sweat shirt every day.
  4. nerd alert – a 40 something guy in 80s jeans with a fantasy tee tucked in to said jeans. he always had a three-in-one sci-fi novel in hand, told math jokes (yes, math jokes) and talked constantly about dungeons and dragons.
  5. sorority girl – life of the party. that may have been because we were stuck in a room with 10 men who all seemed enamored with her. she tried to get me to commiserate with her stressful week since it was the week before rush and she had places to be.
  6. her? – poor thing never spoke. i gathered that she was 20ish and lived with her parents.
  7. eminem – basketball shorts, skate shoes, over-sized t-shirt and a back pack he never removed. he’d sit, arms folded, leaning against the wall and silent. my tiny victory happened the last day. i got him to say good morning to me!
  8. skinny jeans – this guy had good hair, hip glasses and trendy hoodies.
  9. kid next door – my buddy, juror 12, we always lined up together and we sat next to each other. we shared some good times… wait, i don’t even know his name.
  10. the dad – a 40-something dad. had a ds on hand to pass the time.
  11. black guy – chatter box.
  12. laptop guy – this guy was kind of a know it all and typed really loud!

i was a little disappointed to be dismissed prior deliberation. as juror thirteen i was the pre-selected alternate. the jury was locked and it ended up being a mistrial.

what i learned from my experience? small rocks of cocaine can be purchased for the low price of $10. the park by pike’s place market can fill your crack and marijuana needs. when being charged with selling cocaine, it’s always best to claim you were only trying to buy weed, not sell crack. as a juror, you may feel like speaking up for the young prosecutor when you feel he should have objected (what can i say, i watch a lot of law & order!). if you fulfill jury duty you get a certificate signed by the judge. hot dog!


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