Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Guest Blogger; Part Three

More stories from Matt's second day of Jury Duty (by the way - last time I served Jury Duty, in downtown Brooklyn - I was there till 4 in the afternoon, read 1920s pulp novels, listened to my ipod and only got called up when it was time to get the letter telling me I didn't need to come back the next day - or again for a few years - Just another reason Brooklyn ROCKS!).

I wish I had something interesting or useful to add. Some excitements from my day of unemployment. But, to be fair, I've done laundry and spent an hour trying to clean a nasty stain off of the living room wall ... that's not really anything too exciting to write about.

I digress. Another day of Jury Duty by Matt below:

Woo Hoo, Day number 2 of Jury duty. It’s actually not yet through–I still have 15 minutes left in my lunch break. What occurred yesterday, was essentially, well, nothing. But, it did require me being at 111 Centre Street at 8:45, which did drastically screw with my sleep schedule.

We–those of us not smart enough to get out Jury duty–then milled around the hallway like a flock missing its shepherd for the better part of an hour, when we were led into a large room that at least had seats. It was here that a very entertaining court officer workshopped some of his stand up while he gave us instructions to make it through our day. Surprisingly, all of the officers here have been really helpful and nice. While the wait has been very DMV, the service has been very Jamba Juice. After being given almost 2 hours for lunch and back in the comfy seat room, Jokey McClerk began to call the names of prospective jurors for the trials on the docket. By 3:30, my name is finally called. A group of us, at least 50, were herded across the street to a different building, led up to an identical hallway >where we were instructed to wait until we were called. Again, we did our best confused livestock impression. Finally at 4pm we were led into the courtroom–oh the excitement, if only I’d been allowed to twitter my glee. At last! We were about do something, anything, just please make the boredom stop. I’d listened to all of my podcasts, created imaginary histories for everyone around me, read several short stories, knitted a scarf, and mentally rearranged the alphabet, I needed something–I’m no Buddhist monk. But wait, the judge, who again seemed very personable, asked if anyone here had any reasons why they couldn’t serve. The one or two hands that first, sheepishly went up, quickly turned into a line of at least 20 smiling people, each of whom needed a private consultation with the Judge. For Chrissakes, can we please get this show on the road! By the time Judge Wapner finished playing duck duck goose with schmucks doing their best to beat the system, it was 5:15, and with that they sent us home. That’s 8 and one half hours of my life I will never, ever see again. I returned today, not at 8:30, not even 9:30, but at 11:45–maybe the judge had a hangover. Again we all did the uncomfortable hallway dance until 1, whereupon after settling into the comfortable vinyl of the courtroom, we were informed there wasn’t going to be a trial (I knew that bastard was guilty). And guess what, it was time for lunch! Another hour devoured by senseless bureaucracy. Now, once again, I am back amid the vinyl and failure that has come to represent my judicial incarceration. And, the judge, or clerk, or goblin or whoever will amble out of that back room is already 15 minutes late. I think I know why everyone who works here is so nice and preoccupied with lunch breaks … they’re all stoned. These people need to switch to uppers. One thing about meth-heads, they are punctual. The wannabe standup comedian/clerk just came back and actually said: “We do have some things kicking around, and we might need some people.” Really? Yesterday, we were lauded as the backbone of our judicial system, and today were cleaning up leftovers. There’s a metaphor hidden in all of this, I’m sure of it.

I didn’t actual intend for this to be a screed against our inefficient jury system. I wanted to tell everyone about my lunch. It was free! That’s cool, right? Well, let’s review. For those of you unaware, the court house(s) are very close to Chinatown. In fact, The marble and granite of our City’s political center is only a couple of block s from the neon and red shopping bags of Canal Street. So, for lunch, I went into a very authentic looking little Dim Sum place, to have some spring rolls, and some shrimp dumplings. I was reading a magazine while eating, and so not really paying attention. As I was reading along, contentedly pondering weather or not to eat that last dumpling, something skittered across my peripheral vision. Yep, NYC’s little friend, who along with rats and pigeons have come to define this magnificent little town of ours. I know roaches exist; I am not naïve. I would just prefer not to share my place settings with them. The worst thing was that after being forced to pantomime “roach,” –English, along hygiene, I would quickly learn, not being this establishment’s strongest suit,–I was forced to produce the roach so the owner could believe my story. Luckily, or perhaps not at all luckily, all I had to do was move one the dishes of mystery sauce to send the little dude scurrying. So, I got a free lunch. And, perhaps, e Coli.

Back to the glacial pace of my day in court: It’s 3:15, now a full hour after our return and, still, nothing. 12 Angry Men was a lie. Perry Mason, Matlock, and Jack McCoy were all douchebags. Maybe OJ was innocent.

It’s 3:30, and they just sent us home. Our government at work!

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