John Grisham didn’t write about jury duty

8:15: There’s already 40 people here. I opt for a seat in the middle to get a good view of the tv. Everyone seems to be sitting in the back, like this is church and it makes any difference.

8:34: Introductory remarks from the jury clerk. I ponder whether this would be a good job. Also questioning the dress the clerk is wearing which makes her look 4 months pregnant. Not sure if she is or if she just ate a giant breakfast.

8:36: I had the idea to live tweet my day at jury duty, but there is no wi-fi in the courthouse, because this is no doubt the dumpiest courthouse in the state. And I’ve been to all of them. Someone tipped me off that the window seats can sometimes poach wi-fi from the hotel across the street. Apparently 50 other people also received this information. I was tempted to hover over someone until they became so uncomfortable they would give up their seat. But I didn’t really want to get that close to any of these people. It’s like Wal-mart.

8:43: We’ve been herded into two lines to sign in. The lines are moving at “courthouse speed”. Which is to say that a couple of pre-schoolers could probably move faster.

8:55: Now we wait. I note that there is not one attractive man in this jury pool. How is this possible?

9:03: The woman in the row in front of me is wearing enough perfume to choke a horse. Can’t women smell themselves when they leave the house? Or has their sense of smell been killed off from chemical warfare? She is also reading a Danielle Steel novel. I’m questioning whether this is really a jury of my peers. I would not be caught dead reading a Danielle Steel novel.   I brought David Sedaris with me, just so I could look extra witty should there be a hot single man here. Since there is not, I pull out my Danielle Duprey unfinished screenplay. If it had a shirtless Hugh Jackman on the cover riding a horse I bet it would sell more copies than Danielle Steel. How does one become “go-to” courthouse reading? Maybe I should have brought Playgirl.

9:10: Finally an attractive guy shows up. Dresses well. Totally my type. Which is to say he is tall. He stands off to the side. Damn, he’s a blue sticker juror. That means he’s already on a jury. I have no time to work it.

9:15: Rah-rah speech from a judge. Yes, jury duty is an honor. Yes, my being here is the only thing keeping us from turning into North Korea. I still don’t care. Oh hell, there’s 4 juries being picked today? It’s Friday. That should not be. I will be stuck here all day.

9:30: I manage to avoid the first four panels. I’m working on editing my screenplay, but keep getting interrupted by the guy three seats over who is clearing his throat like he has a steak caught. He also mumbles to himself. I inch my coat closer to me lest he cough something up on it.

10:00: The clerk has turned on the tv to the Food Network. I’m missing my morning snack right now. I can’t get up to go to the vending machine because I’d have to make four people move to get out of my seat. I’m watching Cupcake Wars.

10:18: There are two loud women in the row behind me discussing whether avocado puree is an appropriate cupcake filling. I wonder if it goes with steak.

10:34: Hot guy alert! I think he’s a maintenance guy at the courthouse. He looks like Dr. McSteamy from Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t see a ring. Can I date a courthouse maintenance guy? He clearly has no interest in someone who can’t get out of jury duty. I should have dressed like “hot juror” instead of “don’t give a fuck/it’s Friday/please don’t pick me juror.”

11:00: I’ve finished editing my screenplay. I contemplate writing something, but I’m convinced that they will be releasing us soon. Now there is some weird Canadian version of Iron Chef on. They are making a dish with beef marrow and something called macaroni & cheese ham loaf. We’re American. Why didn’t we think of injecting macaroni & cheese in Spam? I’ve lost my appetite now.

12:10: Dammit. They just called me on round 6. I’m not getting out of here before lunch.

12:20: I learn it’s a wrongful death case. This would last a week, at least. I know nothing of the case & I’m for the dead guy. My panel of jurors includes a guy reading a Danielle Steel novel in the jury room. Did they give these out when you passed through the metal detector? I consider asking to see his man card so I can tear it up.

12:30: It occurs to me that I should have brought in a stack of John Grisham novels and claimed they were for “research.” This surely would get me out of serving. Feel free to use this next time you are called.

12:40: They run through the list of parties and luckily I know 3 of them. I’m sure I’m getting out of this. I don’t think they check. I may claim I know 10 of the parties.

12:47: NO! Don’t break for lunch! I am ordered to return at 2:00. Kill me now.

1:10: I opt for Bagel King, even though bagels are the most lethal food on the diet planet. There appears to be a couple on a Match date next to me. Who goes for a lunch date at Bagel King? Clearly they aren’t optimistic. Or did they meet at jury duty?

1:55: Back in the jury room, there is a loudmouth guy lecturing the woman next to me about furnaces and regaling us with the story of how he bought his house and sold it for 4 times what he paid. Good for you, Sparky. I don’t give a fuck. Neither does the woman behind you with the bad wig who is rolling her eyes at me. I try cracking jokes to shut him up. He’s talking over me. I glare at the woman who keeps asking him questions. Just shut up! We’re not here to make friends. We’re here to find a way to go home. And if I kill him, I won’t be going home…

1:57: I can’t sit in these chairs that make airplane seats look ergonomic. I peruse the magazine assortment. They are from 2009. I know there are budget cuts, but this is just pathetic.

2:10: I’m the first one called in. The attorney doing the voir dire is an older woman who talks very loudly to make herself seem more important. I recognize the name because my boss told me she was the most unethical lawyer in the state, and had been sanctioned by the bar more than any other attorney. I contemplate bringing this up, but I don’t want to out my boss for giving me the information. I go through the names I recognize, and 15 seconds later they unanimously agree to excuse me. I waited through the lunch break for that? You couldn’t just read “personal injury attorney” on my form and let me go? You never would have let me serve on this case in a million years. This is why they need an express check in at the courthouse.

2:12: I am lost in the parking garage. The non-English speaking attendant is telling me something I don’t understand. I knew I should have just paid for parking. Should I go back to work? It’s Friday. Don’t be silly.

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