My time at the courthouse was particularly uneventful. It felt mostly like being on a very long train ride. I was first summoned to appear in January. I’d asked to be deferred or excused stating that I was a stay at home mom with a baby who was still nursing. They said they offered day care and provided a lactation room. We could have my service deferred if needed.
They sent me a new summons. This time for May. I drove into the city bright and early and made it up to the fifth floor of the courthouse. I sat in the theater like seats and waited for the presentation. The ladies informing us of what to expect were light hearted about it all. They said that we may be called but either way we had to stay until 5, just to be sure we wouldn’t be needed. They played a Jennifer Lopez movie in the morning and a marvel movie in the afternoon. I spent most of my time in a seat by the window, writing.
Sitting in that long hallway stretch is what made it feel like a train ride. I enjoyed the solitude. I popped my headphones in my ears and listened to a new podcast. I glanced up at the movie a few times but you know how those Jennifer Lopez movies go. They all sort of start and end the same.
They had lockers, a cafe space, a lounge, a quiet room, computers, a balcony and generally comfy seating all over. All because we weren’t allowed to leave the jury suite. Except for me however, since I was able to utilize the lactation room. It was dated and grim but the rocking chair was decent and I appreciated their thought.
They called 25 jurors in the morning after our orientation. I hadn’t been called by the time the lunch break rolled around and sitting all day was wearing on me. I grabbed my bag and headed straight for the pavement, my feet taking me I wasn’t sure where yet but walking was much needed. Amelie’s wasn’t too far so I headed up that way and ordered a dirty chai. The barista called my name and I thanked him for my drink. “You’re welcome my dear.” He shouted cheerily.
I walked back past all of the pretty women sitting outside restaurants with coworkers. The groups of fresh out of college guys walking confidently down the street in their navy blazers. There I was. Stay at home mom, soon to be in her late twenties. What!? (Side note – when my oldest sister was in her mid to late twenties I was a teenager and thought It’d take forever until I was her age! I thought she was so cool and being a mid to late twenty year old was the dream. It actually has been the dream I imagined and I can’t believe I made it. I’m finally living it! I-mean-what?-she-is-still–in-her-late-twenties-she’ll-kill-me-for-sharing-her-age-but-she-honestly-doesn’t-look-a-day-over-29. We could be twins.) There I was walking along, taking in every sight, missing being around uptown just the slightest bit, pausing at every fountain and sipping on my dirty chai.
Stay at home moms don’t really get a day off. Unless you have jury duty and in this case as frustrating as it was to sit in traffic on the way there and back it wasn’t all so bad you guys. I don’t know what it’s like in other counties. The ladies said it was more like the DMV and claimed that most of what had been in the jury suite had been donated. Nonetheless there were a lot of grumpy people in there. They had more important things to do I guess and yea by the end of it I was getting stir crazy too and I missed Brandon and my baby, sifting through sweet photos of them having a daddy daughter day while I was away. But it really wasn’t all so bad.
I spent the rest of the afternoon in the quiet room reading my book. Apparently no one reads anymore because I was the only one sitting in there. That or the movie Venom was better than they say. But I doubt it because the muffled sounds I could hear mid-movie just sounded like any other blockbuster out there.
They called us into the theater seating to select 40 jurors this time. I passed by the snoring guy and the guy who’s cough didn’t seem so lovely and took a seat next to the woman with the 37 week pregnant belly. I asked if she was starting to feel uncomfortable and she said very. We both confessed that we hoped to just make it through the day and not be called for a trial. Then she was the first on the list to be called. I went back to the quiet room to read. Stepped out onto the balcony. A girl asked if we might be in the clear since it was already 4:30. Five minutes later they dismissed us. I drove all the way home, my sweet baby was a bit stunned to see me. She gave me the longest hug and Brandon has never looked so studdly.