This past Friday, I was called to perform an extremely important duty. In an instant (after checking the hotline at 4:30pm, CST) I became Keely: Juror.
I did not take this job lightly. (Most likely because I was stoked beyond belief to get to ride solo on a train, read a book, and potentially use the bathroom by myself at some point during the day.)
Here is how I prepared for my Big Day O' Juroring:
-I ate breakfast (at a table)!
-I packed a bag that did not possess a) toys, b) wipes, or c) sippies. (I still jam-packed that thing with snacks, however.)
-I bounced up and down a little.
-I mentally reviewed every episode of Law & Order that had ever made an impact (the one with the psychotic mother, the one where Clare was hit by a drunk driver, the one with Jerry Orbach's daughter as an informant).
-I way overcaffeinated. (I had spent the past 18 hours pumping milk with the abhorred pump, so I was totally good to go in terms of poisoning my own system.)
I potentially left a little too early, but you really can't be too careful with these transit things. These solo transit things. I stopped for another coffee. Beamed at fellow passengers on the brown line. Read a chapter. Listened to a few songs via my headphones. Made some phone calls.
All of these things were done before the train had fully made it three stops away.
Down at the courthouse, I breezed through security- most likely because I was no longer carrying any of the suspicious items that my children usually require me to possess. I received a panel number (34) and proceeded to set up camp at a nice table; I was going to finish my book. Catch up on all of my emails. Have a snack. Read some more. Snack some more. (After all, everyone had told me that- generally- no one ever gets called into a courtroom. Especially on a Friday. Also, to pack some snacks.)
We watched an incredibly informative video entitled You, The Juror, which pretty much summed up everything that I (and everyone around me) already knew from Law & Order. The best part was how the narrator was unable to say the word "juror" without adding at least seven more r's.
I had already decided that I liked being Me, The Jurrrrorrr.
Immediately after the video ended, panel 10 was called. (Suckers.) Five minutes later, panel 18 was asked to line up. (I unwrapped a fruit leather.) Then- "Panel 34, please line up in two rows."
What?! I haven't even had a chance to check out YouTube yet! But no, I had to close my laptop, decamp my already nicely decorated workstation, and shove the entirety of my snack into my mouth without detection. (Only two of those activities worked.) We were then led into a courtroom...where we proceeded to sit quietly (and sans aaaanything to do) for the next half an hour.
Finally, a judge, some attorneys, and one extremely suspicious-looking guy entered the courtroom. (Later found out he was the clerk.) Then, the two dudes involved in the civil case entered. (So much for a juicy murder trial or demands that people Look Into Their Hearts.)
Of the 18 people on the panel, only 12 were to be interviewed. The judge randomly selected 12 of us to sit in the jury box for the next round of questioning- guess who got the 12th seat? (And no, in case you're curious, having the same first name as the prosecuting attorney's last name does not excuse you from serving. Just a reminder.) I was excited for some hard-hitting questioning. Serious "make 'em sweat" stuff.
The attorneys addressed us all as a group:
"Has anyone here even been party to a vehicular accident?" (Okay, so they're ramping up.)
"Do any of you recognize anyone in the courtroom?" (Aside from name recognition, nope.)
"If selected, do you promise to carefully review all of the documentation?" (What?! How do you answer that one? Uh- nope. I can't promise I'll read. Can I recuse myself now?)
And that was it. I was alarmed at the lack of severity. I had hoped to be challenged, have some bit of top secret info revealed, been made to cry at least a little. But nope. The judge then chose six of us- at random again- and I wasn't among them. Ten minutes later, they handed me a check for my day's services (17.20- thanks, Illinois!) and was thanked for my work. Goodbye.
I was horrified. Where were the hours upon hours of solitary time (surrounded by hundreds of other Chicagoans)? I hadn't even checked my Twitter feed, yet! No one had yet held me in contempt! What a joke.
I was home by lunch.
Peej could tell that I was sad. (Probably because, when he answered the phone, I was sobbing.) He reassured me that I'd get some good alone time in the near future. Also, that I was probably an exceptional juror. He's a nice guy.
And that was that. I served, I deposited my sweet paycheck, and happily added another title to my growing list: