Thursday, June 05, 2008

I'll Tell You What You Can Do With Your Civic Duty...

It's gonna be a long one tonight, folks. I've got wine, 60s European funk and the apartment all to myself. There's a lot to say.

I've been a scooterer for over a year now...could be considered an old hand even...and it's taken me all this time to become comfortable with the Scooter Code. Yes, such a thing exists. It's rarely witnessed and often whispered about. Like the Amish. But it's alive and well amongst a certain set. And by "set" I mean people who own scooters. The biggest and first rule is that scooterists give each other a little wave when passing in the opposite direction. It's kind of a "Hey, I see you're naked to the elements as well. Rock on".

I'm not much for waving at perfect strangers. I show very little affection towards people I actually know, so why would someone who has nothing in common with me but the fact that we're both too cheap to buy a car inspire any different? That's rhetorical. The most I do is that "what's up" nod with my heavily helmeted head. Which can look like bowing if I'm not careful. I don't want that either. But every time I do the head bob and they do the wave, I feel guilty. If they have the balls to wave at me, I should, in turn, grow a nice, if feminine pair and wave on back. But I never do. At least until now. I feel as though I might have turned a corner today. The "what's up" nod action on the way home felt especially shameful today. I think maybe I'm ready to graduate. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday I had jury duty. It was my first time. Ever.

I reported to the court house at 7:55. I had a laptop, book, iPod and anything else I could possibly think of that I might use to keep myself awake. Immediately upon passing through the heavily guarded doors, I sent my bag through the x-ray scan at security and set it off. Turns out I forgot to take the pepper spray (that has lived in that bag for the last year and a half) out. Apparently this is considered a "weapon" and isn't allowed in the County Courthouse. It's not LISTED in the posted LIST of weapons...but a weapon it is. Qu'elle surprise. I had to go back outside, throw it away and come back through security. With my cheeks BURNING the entire time.

Quick orientation by a judge. Explanation of what "evidence" is. Congratulations on the important role we're playing in this greatness we call Democracy, blah blah blah. The next 20 years (6 hours) of my life were spent fighting to keep my eyes open in what felt like a stationary airplane. Except the rows were longer. I will say this about the Jury Room, it's a great place to meet guys. I mean, I didn't actually meet any of them, but there were several fine looking young lads fighting to keep themselves awake all around me. If only I hadn't been so very ill tempered and resentful about my even having to BE there, perhaps I would've seized the opportunity to make some friends. But I didn't. And now I have to live with that for the rest of my life.

At 2:00 PM the elderly woman that had been calling 15-18 names for different trials throughout the day once again stood at her little podium with an announcement. It's the last trial, and they're requesting 30 jurors. The rest will be able to leave early. Guess who's name was number 28. Fuckers.

Once seated in the court room we learned that the defendant was accused of possession of cocaine. They needed 12 jurors. But they needed to ask us all some questions first. 9 to be exact. So I sat there (next to a Chatty Kathy who needed a right hook in the kisser, I'm telling you) and listened to the life stories of 29 average assholes. I learned their name, where they live, what they do, what their spouses do, if they drive, whether or not they had friends or family in law enforcement, what their degree is in, if they'd been in a court proceeding, if they'd ever been a victim of a crime and WHAT THEIR FUCKING HOBBIES WERE. I spent most of this time staring at the clock or out the window. Once I locked eyes with the prosecution and yawned defiantly at him.

An hour and a half passed and they still weren't done questioning us. Every once in a while a philosophical discussion would break out about the morality behind mandatory sentences or what "guilt" actually means. There were stories about friend's brother's uncle's grandpappys who were treated mean by a cop back in the Civil War and how it's shaped their opinion of law enforcement today. Christ. Then the judge decides that we can all use a break. She sent us into the "jury room". That meant the deliberation room...meant for 12.

So 30 of us stood uncomfortably close to each other around a table in a tiny room designed for the purpose of deciding the futures of dumbasses everywhere by a select few. It was very hushed...except on either side of me. Two elderly (well...oldish middle age) assholes were flirting. FLIRTING over my head. Consequently, she does fused glass and he refurbishes old microscopes or something. I was furiously text messaging my imminent suicide to everyone I knew. 15 minutes of poorly circulated hell.

Back in we went...and some more questions! Do you have a problem with authority? What is your opinion of meth? Raise your hand if you've witnessed injustice. Raise your hand if this might affect your ability to judge the facts of this case. Raise your hand if you've ever been to Arbys. Raise your hand if this might affect your ability to judge the facts of this case. On and on. And on. I yawned at the defense attorney. It was 4:15.

And then...then I heard "Does anyone here think that marijuana should be legalized?" And my hand shot up.

FREEDOM!

I got out at 4:30. I don't have to go back there for another 2 years, minimum. I expressed my relief as I checked out with the Jury Room clerk. "You didn't want to serve on the jury, then?" She seemed surprised. I explained to her that I didn't feel the defendant deserved my boredom. Not when his freedom was at stake. She laughed. I think she understood. We're kindred spirits, she and I.

Then I went home. Roommate made me dinner. I KNOW! I'm keeping him.

See...I warned you. Lengthy.

But worth it...no?

(lie if you must)


17 keep(s) me blogging:

Gorilla Bananas said...

It's good thing they didn't ask the jurors if anyone rode a scooter. It would have got you dismissed, but how everyone would have have sniggered! You would have said "Hey, I'm also for legalisation of marijuana!" but it wouldn't have helped. Don't you scooter people have horns you can toot at each other? The plastic ones that go "poop" when you squeeze them would be perfect.

Rachel said...

you look HAWT in that helmet.

They let you go on decriminalized marijuana? I gotta remember that one for whenever I'm on jury duty. In my opinion, though, they are missing out on a damn fine juror. *sniffle*

AxAtlas said...

You should greet yer fellow scooters with the Three Amigos salute. Just don't get too carried with the pelvic thrust part or you will...end up on youtube without your consent.

Sarah said...

I had jury duty about 2 years ago. It was a case where a punk ass meth head had thrown his girlfriend's 10 month old son into a dresser. Made me sick to my stomach. Unfortunately, I got all into the case and then something caused us to mistrial. Had to go home and never hear the outcome. So pissed.
A guy who was in the original 30 or so jurors on that first day got off because he told them he was hungover. Use that one next time.

problemchildbride said...

I watched Twelve Angry Men the other night. Recommended.

J'aimeing that scooter.

Kara said...

goranas - i do have a horn, but i always forget about it.

rachel - are you on the sauce? you get weepy when you're on the sauce.

ax - prepare yourself. i have never seen the three amigos.

sarah - wow. if only i'd known. i can do a pretty convincing portrayal on command.

sam - their experiences pale in comparison to mine! i kid. i think i have that movie somewhere.

Orhan Kahn said...

You're full of awesome. I like you. We could build a car together, or a house of cards. Talk about the cotton fields and smoke a cigar or two. Kara, my dear. How art thou so.

Did you get paid to be there?

Congratulations on the new roomie, I'm well jealous.

Susie Q said...

Wow, mighty fine post there little missy, enjoyed your agony as though I were there myself.

Speaking of myself, I must question the whole stupid process of jury selection. I am in the time of my life when I WOULD LOVE to serve on a jury! I have the time and would give my left teet to have the whole experience, but alas and alak, that's not how it's done. Just isn't.

Noooooo, they call the folks who

A. can't afford to miss work... (I only volunteer these days)

-or-

B. don't have the time... (see above)


Heck, in my 51 years on this earth I've been called ONCE and let go within a few hours.

Musta been my stance on weed...

Robert the Skeptic said...

You're kidding me - they asked YOU "Do you have a problem with authority?" !! I picture you responding: "Who the f**k wants to know?"

Seriously, I served on a jury twice. What I learned from that experience is that most people are morons. If I am EVER accused of a crime, I will NEVER, EVER let a jury decide my fate. Leave it up to a judge. I could never be judged by a jury of my peers because I have no "peers"!

And lastly - Do you realize how much you look like a Power Ranger in that picture?!!

theWaif said...

Someday I will ride that scooter. This is what I keep telling myself.

It's a little bit sad that you didn't get on the jury. It could have been very entertaining. For instance, you could have pretended you were on Perry Mason and screamed with feigned horror anytime the prosecution introduced new evidence. The judge would have loved that! They appreciate it when jurors have a good sense of humor. I watched Night Court a lot so I know these things.

thethinker said...

Your helmet and your scooter don't match. Shame on you. Get a baby blue helmet.

Mary Witzl said...

I once took care of a friend's scooter for a month while she was on holiday. I never mastered the little wave either; I'm not coordinated enough for that sort of thing. But I did plenty of nods.

I have trouble with authority too. There's just something about having to follow orders that sets my teeth on edge. My hand would have gone up too and I never smoke.

Effortlessly Average said...

There's one easy way to get out of jury duty for life: commit a felony! Oh sure, there's that whole going to prison thing to worry about, but really, it's that worth it not to go through that again?

Kara said...

or - i like you too! i tried to build a house of cards once a couple of years ago at a beach house. it fell.

sue - well now that you've said that you know you're going to be called. i'm too important for jury duty. that's my new stance.

dad - i do NOT look like a power ranger! disowned! and i resent that you think i can't control my hatred of authority. i haven't talked back to a cop in YEARS.

waif - you will ride it this weekend. no arguments.

thinker - my dear darling girl...you CANNOT have a blue helmet, blue storage case AND a blue bike. it's just not done. that's like having a blue purse to go with a blue belt AND blue shoes. i'm hoping college teaches you these things. otherwise you'll be getting your masters at my house.

mary - i don't smoke it either, but i really do believe it should be legal and taxed like CRAZY.

average - i think maybe you need to tell me.

Effortlessly Average said...

Tell you what? Prison? Hey that guy never told me his age. heh

Stinkypaw said...

I think I'd love to be called for Jury duties - I say that now... but then again... I might get bored. Oh well!

As for the wave, we used to do that on motorcycle as well... just a little sign, that my ex used to say it made him feel like he belonged to a club. Weird and yet I get it, so yeah maybe it's time for you to wave a little...

The Future said...

I think you need to give them the royal wave, you know the backwards goof ball looking thing? Put some pearls on and you can pretend you're Diana or even someone alive. I think you needed to pretend you were Spencer Tracy in the courtroom (Inherit the Wind) and Wow them with your suspenders!