So, as you might have guessed, jury duty did not kill me, and neither did any of the really nice people there. But I did have some interesting experiences–which just proves, I guess, that I really should get out once in a while!
Anyway, some fun things that happened during my two days of aborted public service:
*** As I was getting dressed on the first day, I turned to Mate and said, “So, uhm, do I look appropriate for public viewing?”
He eyed my T-shirt and skirt and shrugged. “You look great, but you realize that you’re going to be seated next to a guy wearing flip-flops and cargo shorts, right?”
In line to register, I ended up behind a thirty-ish guy with blue eyes and a kind face– he was wearing motorcycle leathers, and I laughed to myself, thinking of Mate. It was warm in the mezzanine, and the guy started stripping down– the boots came first, going into his backpack with his helmet, then the motorcycle leathers went next, because he had something on underneath. Then he pulled out a pair of shoes, zipped up his backpack, and voila! NOW I was standing next to a guy in flip-flops and cargo shorts. I started laughing so hard I had to tell the guy the story, and he laughed too. We ended up sitting next to each other a lot– we both had four kids and something to talk about, and whether he knew it or not, he delivered a 1-2 punch to the gut. He said, “Did you tell your husband about the kid in the motorcycle leathers?”
And it hit me.
I was thinking of us as peers, and he was thinking of me as an ELDER.
I really need to dye my hair.
So, the jury pool was selected and sent to the appropriate department, and during the extensive Voir Dire I had the following thought: If being bored to death was actually possible, all jury selections would be criminal proceedings.
Heh heh… I was so proud of that one that I tweeted it!
Anyway, they kept whittling away at jurors, and suddenly, at 4:30, I was seated.
And then we were dismissed before we were deposed for Voir Dire.
So the next day I went in, and got questioned. Guys– you know how judges and attorneys aren’t supposed to have a sense of humor?
So the judge got to me and said, “So, uhm, I see you’re a romance writer. How’s that business going?”
“Awesome, sir. I’m doing really well.”
“So, do you write under your own name or a pen name?”
“A pen name, sir.”
“Do you want to promote your pen name?”
“Uh, sure!” I turned to the audience. “Amy Lane, folks, for all your gay romance needs.”
I turned back to him and he was laughing appreciatively. He proceeded to ask me questions pertinent to the case, which I won’t disclose in context, but suffice it to say that my screaming liberal disposition announced itself politely and with a smile.
At the end of the questioning the judge started to chuckle.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I”m looking at the employment of your youngest child. Adorability, is it?”
“Yes, sir. She’s good at it.”
“That’s good to hear.”
So everyone was smiling. The jury culling began after the next two people were questioned, and the judge asked me to move into the jury pool. I met the prosecutor’s eyes in disbelief and she nodded in complete understanding. Oh yeah– I was not on her list of people she wanted on that jury.
“We’d like to thank you for your service, you’re free to go.”
I skipped out of the courtroom, but I actually felt good about the process. Guilty or not, the defendant was getting his due process, and really, isn’t that what we want?
**** Which brings me to the scary assed shit that happened in the rest of the world last night.
Because it was great to see the system working–but our racial statistics tell us that most of the time, the system is fucking people over, and sometimes, like sickness in the body, the world erupts into pustulance.
Ferguson, people? Are we still doing this?
Bruce Springsteen wrote “41 Shots” in 2000.
And today, we are being torn apart by this same assumption, by the same horrible assumption that was extant then, was extant in the ’90’s, was extant in the 60’s…
How many lies do we tell ourselves to let this keep happening?
What was it Yoda said? From ignorance comes fear, from fear comes hatred, from hatred comes weakness.
I’ve written this blog post three times, and every times, although I’ve felt right and justified in what I’ve written, I’ve been unable to press send. It all comes down to ignorance, fear, hatred, and weakness, and how our government is fostering those things in our law enforcement to keep down our poor.
It comes down to rich white men laughing as Rome burns.
It comes down to people with practically nothing being left with much, much less.
And it comes down to senseless deaths, and a topic that’s so explosive even tackling it in fiction hurts too much for some people.
It comes down to a tired liberal, who has gotten screamed at and flipped off and honked at for just espousing simple health care.
And who is going to need to lick her wounds before she comes out and faces what should be the country’s grief for one more senselessly killed teenaged boy, and is instead a war that we’ve never admitted we’re fighting.
Excuse me while I go remember how not to fear again. In this country, in this climate, it takes all that courage I could have sworn I never had.
And I’m not living in poverty, and my skin is barely tan.