I guess it has been two years since the last time because I was once again summoned for jury duty. I just got back from spending eight boring hours at the courthouse and the only thing I have to show for it is a measly $4.00 for transportation reimbursement. Well, $4.00 and a few highlights:

  • On my way to my car, I began the day by being approached by a huffing and puffing Salvadoran woman toting a vacuum cleaner and bucket of cleaning supplies and asking me "wheech way to EEErving?" When I finally understood she meant "Irving Street," and pointed up the hill and mentioned "a few blocks up," her face just crumpled in misery. She explained that she was supposed to clean someone's house and, instinctively, I asked, "do you want me to give you a ride?" She gratefully accepted and we spent the next few minutes getting her supplies into the trunk and discussing along the way, "ooh, how far!" and "ooh, it's so cold!"
  • On my way to the courthouse, I stopped for a cup of hot chocolate which was a brilliant idea on my part because when I got to the courthouse, the line to get through security was going out of the door. I was probably 30th in the slow-moving line and did I mention how "ooh, it's so cold" today?
  • In the jury room, I sat by the filmy window to enjoy what little sun there was to enjoy while the clerk popped in part 8 of Ken Burn's 9-part series, "The Civil War." I listened to (of course) Morgan Freeman narrate parts of the tale while I gazed outside at the traffic and peds. Why, I asked myself, did that cabbie just double park, get out of his cab, unbuckle his belt to tuck in his shirt, rezip and rebuckle right out on the street before making an illegal U-turn through traffic? Oh yeah. DC.
  • At lunch, I grabbed a sammich from Cosi and ate it in the dismal courthouse cafeteria because there was nary a spot to sit at the restaurant.
  • Back in the jury room, the clerk read out a list of people who had not checked in. One old man raised his hand and asked why he was not on the list. The clerk explained that he wasn't on the list because he had checked in. He raised his voice and angrily announced, "but I want to be checked out!" I, along with my fellow jurors, was astounded to hear him then rant: "I am 72 years old! I'm sick! I am no small chicken! Why do I have to keep coming here? I was evil when I was young! I am more evil now! I am worse than the devil! The Bible says 'judge not lest ye be judged' so I can't judge nobody! Where is my check?" After he was asked to step outside, the room was filled with nervous laughter and jokes. Best among them: "Where do you think he went to lunch?" "According to Charlie Daniels, The Devil Went Down to Fuddruckers."
  • At 2:30, another batch of jurors left to perform their civic duty but I was among those who had to remain until the last judge decided whether or not he needed a jury. To pacify us, the clerk popped in part 9 of "The Civil War." We just got to an interesting part about someone accusing a politician of dressing in women's clothing when the last of us were called. Alas and alack, I was among them.
  • After sitting through THE most inefficient voir dire in a hot, stuffy room, only half of the jurors had been interviewed and it was nearing 5:00 p.m. When the court reporter came out of the secret room and by her mere presence implied that we might be getting let go, the pens began clicking throughout the rows like crickets coming out at dusk and legs began bouncing as though everyone was engaging in traditional Greek grape-stomping activities. Rather than keep us for another hour or call us back tomorrow, the judge let us all go and NOBODY was chosen in the end.
  • I trudged back upstairs to claim my $4.00 and get the proof that I served. Hopefully, it will be longer than another two years before they come knocking on my door again. And now, I sleep.

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