Thursday, March 20, 2014

Jury Duty: Post #1

The return address read: 68th District Court. Flint, Michigan.
I slipped the mint green paper from the envelope, groaning inwardly.
A summons for jury duty.

Included was a nice paragraph listing the valid reasons to be excused from this civic responsiblility.
Unfortunately, I met none of the criteria. 
I requested the prayer group ask God to spare me this headache.
Something very spiritual like, 
"Please, Lord, when I call the night before, let the recording say there's no need to report."

It didn't work.
(To be fair, however, I only had to report for two of the four days I was scheduled for jury duty.)

This was all new and unfamiliar.
That's the pleasant way to say I was extremely anxious. 
I found childcare and wrote lessons plans for the "substitute teacher" of my 3 children.
I checked and double-checked Google Maps so I could see the building I needed to find.
God bless Google Maps. 
No, seriously.
I read and read again the FAQs about Jury Duty.
I gulped hard, got in the van and drove myself downtown to a building I had never really noticed and parked in a multi-level garage whose former life was to hold the vehicles of Montgomery-Ward patrons.

I made my way down a hall and eyed a fellow mint green paper-carrying victim.
I introduced myself, learned her name was Tashia and was the mom of an adorable 5-month old.
Adorable is my adjective as evidenced by sweet baby cheeks on her phone.
We walked down the hall, hoping we were headed the right direction.
Tashia and I rode down the escalators and hung a left.
We made our way through the metal detectors and to the rather smallish Jury Assembly room.
I found myself amid 40 strangers and Tashia.
Small circular tables filled the space.
There was one flat screen television tuned to morning shows I never get a chance to watch as a home-educating mother of children under 10.
Everyone watched the telly or had their nose in a book.
I was about to become one of the bookworms.

I sat down and breathed a sigh of relief.
I had made it this far.
I patted myself on the back, feeling proud of my accomplishment.
You know, the accomplishment of driving 3 miles to our small downtown to report for a task that thousands before me have done.

I pulled out my book and began to read.
20 minutes passed and then I turned ever-so-slightly gitty.
I was struck by this realization:
I am sans children,
reading a book of my choice,
while my children are still getting their schoolwork done.
These facts combined in my mind to form a brand-new and unexpected conclusion...
I LOVE jury duty!

...Jury Duty: Post #2 coming soon...

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