Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Countdown To Jury Duty"

August the 2nd, 2014.

(NOTE:  I am aware that this is no longer exactly current, but I’m a few posts ahead {in case of illness or extended trips} and when I move posts around, I run the risk – and once the actuality – of losing one.  So I’m scheduling this now, sacrificing timeliness for laziness, with the near confidence {I am never entirely confident about anything} that the “Urgency of the Moment” is discernible in the writing.  Enjoy.  Retroactively.)

Today is a Saturday.  As instructed, I am calling in the weekend before to see if they need me the following Monday, August the 4th.  As I tap in the phone number, I can feel myself contracting my body into a ball so I’ll be a smaller target for Jury Duty.  Realizing how stupid that is while simultaneously not straightening up.  

My breath is short and shallow.  (As, I just realized, am I.)  I have already felt a tangible consequence to this unwelcome invitation.  Yesterday, I sensed the symptoms of an oncoming cold, signaling the possibility of “sicking” my way out of Jury Duty. 

Nah.  These symptoms are likely psychosomatic, a fact easily verifiable if it turns out they don’t need me and I immediately feel better.  Of course, my unconscious is much savvier than that.  I would probably continue feeling poorly for a couple of more days.  Masking the evidence of self-inflicted congestion. 


Not, like most people, because I resent the inconvenience involved in fulfilling my civic obligation.  But for two different reasons.  One is, I physically dread to my fundament any proximitous involvement with “The Authorities.” 

I have always been terrified of “The Authorities”, and the “official paperwork” the involvement with them invariably demands.  I have this – I will acknowledge unrealistic – fear of checking an inappropriate box and winding up in the military. 

Unlikely, I know.  But possible.  Which means I could possibly be deployed to the proverbial “Harm’s Way” and the next thing you know, my wife’s getting a telegram.  Or whatever a telegram is today.  Do they do it by e-mail? 


“The Authorities” calls up memories of being sent to the principal’s office, leading directly to detentions and “the strap.”  No good can come from contact with the “The Authorities.” 

“The Authorities” are grown-ups.  They are capable of anything.

The moment I got my Jury Duty summons, a litany of ratita yatita  “Worry Concerns”, irrational and otherwise, were immediately unleashed:

What if it’s a long trial?

What if the other jurors don’t like me?

What if I don’t like them, but they’re strong?

What if they vote me foreman?  (Or is it foreperson?)

What if they don’t, and the foreman (or foreperson) hates former Canadians?

What if I don’t understand the specifics of the trial?

What if I do understand them, but I am uncertain how to vote?

What if I am certain how to vote, but the attorney for the side I planned to vote against is so persuasive – which is why I mistrust the “adversarial system” – or cute – what can I tell you, I’m a man – I am no longer certain I’m right? 

What if I understand the applicable legal contingencies but I “illegally” sympathize with the defendant?

What if it’s a murder trial?  I could never vote for the Death Penalty.  Even if they killed me!  I know.  I’m just saying how much I’m against it.  But, impossibilities aside, face-to-face with that dilemma – especially if the “perp” remains dangerous to society – what exactly would I do? 

Are you finished?

Two more.  What if I complete my Jury Service, realizing only later that I have voted the wrong way?

And my greatest worry of all…

What if my anxiety level is so high that every fifteen minutes I have to pee?

All these questions resound cacophonically in my head as I call in to see if they need me on Monday.

When my call is answered, after entering my “JID Number” (Does the “J” stand for “Jewish”, or does everybody get that?), a sympathetic-sounding automated female informs me that they don’t.

Which means, to find out if they need me on Tuesday,

I have to do this all over again Monday night.

No comments: