January was a funny month. The big celebration on New Year’s Eve, then bam – life as we know it begins again. No more decorating for holidays, the shopping addiction waned and the weather in most of the country was cloudy and cold. But for me? I was lucky enough to be called for Jury duty the 4th week of January, something to look forward to…?
Monday, 7:45am I sat in a room with literally 600 people waiting to be called for Jury duty in the Orange County Superior Court. As they began to call the names I went back to the scene in the Hunger Games, thinking “not me, not me”. As I sat in the room overflowing with unhappy people I tried to look un-jury-able. I slipped through the first three cases and at 11:15am was hoping they’d send us home. But no, they announced the court on the 10th floor was in need of more jurors. Were the first selections defective? They seemed like very nice, normal people. Why were they rejected?
As they read the names, I slouched a bit, as if that would keep me from being called. It didn’t work and 110 of us headed for the elevators. Me, being a bit claustrophobic, headed for the stairs. “It’s only 7 more floors”, I thought, I was on the 3rd. As I rounded the corner on the 5th I thought, “This is crazy, I could die alone in this stairwell and they’d just think I went home”. I exited on the 5th floor and hit the elevator button hoping for an empty car, which arrived… just for me. It was a sign.
Roll call was read and as we were brought into the court, the judge explained that it could be a three week trial and stated the acceptable reasons for being excused. Well I don’t have an employer who won’t pay for me to be on a jury, I don’t have a prepaid trip anywhere or a pending surgery (that I know of). The only thing I was leaning towards was the self-employed missing income during the trial part…. Dammit, I don’t have a client meeting until the end of February, dammit why couldn’t I lie?
So the 50 of us who couldn’t come up with a killer reason were told to come back on Tuesday at 10:00am and the jury selection would begin. My husband suggested I share with them that I believe in the death penalty for traffic tickets, but I was sure that wasn’t going to be one of their questions.
The Hunger Games continue…
Day two. I promised myself I would climb those stairs all the way today. Though that small voice in the back of my head told me I should ease into it and take the escalator to the 3rd then attempt the climb to the 10th. As I opened the 10th floor door, ’wow’ was pretty much the only word I could think of, since I was unable to actually speak due to the lack of oxygen in my body. As I was climbing I promised myself that if my FITBIT hit 250bpm I’d stop or die; luckily, neither happened.
The 50 people from my group were now joined by another 40 that had been chosen in the previous morning’s group. There is no way I could be chosen there were so many of us. As they started to call ‘numbers randomly chosen by the computer’, I whispered to myself “may the odds be ever in your favor”. They were not, # 142 was chosen second to the last for those special seats up front.
We were read the charges and told not to assume the young man who sat staring straight ahead was guilty on the two counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery and one count of kidnapping. I found being impartial is really, really hard. Tuesday melted into Wednesday then on to Thursday. Testimony was heard that actually made me tear up and facts were stated over and over and over again. On my breaks, flights and flights of stairs, 74 to be exact, were climbed, a lot of FITBIT steps were logged and I was ready to head into the weekend letting all the facts sink in. Deliberations were to start on Tuesday and I was really becoming interested.
I was going to make a difference.
Well that was until a lone germ from one of those 600 people during the week, crept into my head and from Friday on I was in bed. Monday I hoarsely called to be excused, and the clerk apologized, from the entire judicial system, for getting me sick. The hoarse voice did it and an alternate was chosen. Really… again? My last two juror attempts ended in dismissals.
After 11 days of bed/sofa surfing I was able to think clearly again. I percolated all the feelings of the emotional roller coaster I had been on and came up with this…
It’s all about BECOMING MORE FLEXIBLE
We hate when we’re not comfortable with something…
- (jury duty)
When we don’t get our way…
- (we get chosen for jury duty)
We judge the situation without giving it a chance…
- (it will be boring and drawn out)
We refuse to realize that we may actually be getting a lesson and learning something positive from it…
- (exercise and making a difference)
Although situations change from what we now have become comfortable with…
- (jury duty)
With the blink of an eye we may be given a gift from a small organism …
- (the flu)
- (grateful that I was given time to think about the lessons and that I can now breathe without a vaporizer)
Instead of jumping on the “I can’t believe this is happening to me” bandwagon, sit back and think (without getting the flu) about the bigger picture and what lessons you are being shown. It’s all about becoming more flexible…
Grateful for you and Vicks,