October 4, 2009

on the (non)adventures of jury duty...

So, as some of you may already know, I recently upheld my civil responsibilities and reported for jury duty. Here's the thing: I get ridiculously excited about jury duty. Initially, at least. (It never seems to live up to my expectations, for some reason.) When I got the letter a couple months ago, I'm fairly sure my exact words were, "Jury duty?! BOOYAH!" And I may or may not have done a happy dance. And contemplated purchasing a pantsuit and a briefcase.

Obviously, I watch entirely too much Law & Order. Or something. Anyway.

Early Tuesday morning, I headed down to the courthouse, checked in, and sunk into a horribly uncomfortable seat, staring at the interesting folks surrounding me. (Which, interestingly enough, included a questionable guy with no teeth and a grown man reading Twilight. But who am I to judge?) I figured that the day was going to fly by, and tried to get comfortable and read my book.

Of course, an hour later my eyes were heavy and I was getting bored of my book and/or secretly staring at the people within my line of vision. I was kind of over it, to say the least. I was all SCREW THIS and decided to take a nap. But I couldn't even enjoy my nap because I kept having these small panic attacks that woke me up. I kept thinking that I was going to start drooling or do that weird twitching thing that happens when you dream that you are falling from a very, very high building. Right as I was cursing any and all excitement I'd ever had over the whole jury duty process, a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, "Oh, uh, this is something we rarely have to do, but we're going to have to send some of you over to Compton because they are running low on jurors."

WHAT.

At that moment, I immediately began packing my things because I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they were going to call my name. I mean, really. Who else would they choose? The awkward and slightly paranoid white girl sitting in the corner is the perfect candidate. Obviously.

When they called my name, I tried not to hyperventilate and walked across the room to the window where I was to pick up directions to the courthouse. The lady at the desk looked at me encouragingly and said, "Oh, it's not going to be that bad." And I gave her a look that said, "Lady, there isn't enough deodorant in the world." And she gave me a look that said, "I don't know what that means." And I gave her a look that said, "Look, I sweat when I get nervous. And don't I look like someone who would be NERVOUS IN COMPTON? I watch Gangland. I know what I'm in for. I hold you completely responsible if I get shanked. Also, should I wear neutral colors?"

At that point, she didn't seem as emotionally involved in our imaginary conversation as I was (which I found a little disappointing, actually). I decided to just head home, eat some lunch, watch an episode of Full House, and mentally prepare myself for the drive to Compton.

Now, this is the part where I feel as though the story should get really interesting, but it kind of doesn't. Compton isn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be. Granted, when I got lost finding the parking garage, I did have to drive through a neighborhood that made me want to cry because I simply can't imagine living somewhere you have to have bars on every window and probably give your six year old a can of mace when they walk outside to get the mail in broad daylight.

But, I survived. Which is a good thing.

I didn't get called into a courtroom for the rest of the day, and drove home at the end of the day feeling slightly disappointed. I mean, jury duty would be much more fun if I actually got to hear an actual case. Or get to do something. You know, aside from sitting in a stuffy, silent room with a bunch of strangers for hours upon hours, while I entertain myself by singing Phantom of the Opera songs in my head and find myself seriously disturbed by the amount of neck hair on the man sitting in front of me.

The moral of the story? You don't necessarily need a pantsuit and briefcase when you go to jury duty, but it might make things a little more entertaining. Also, when driving in Compton, make sure you have some rap music on hand, because when you're stuck at a red light blasting Taylor Swift, things tend to get a little awkward.

49 comments :

  1. Ha ha. Oh, I love this... and the vision of you singing Taylor Swift with your windows down while a guy with too many tatoos in the pimped out car next to you stops rapping to stare at the white girl.

    LOVE.

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  2. Dangit, lady. I always thought jury duty would be exciting, too! Oh well.

    And when we used to drive in the ghetto at home, which is far less dangerous than Compton, Kyle used to roll down the windows and blare hard rock. He thought it was hilarious. Me? Not so much.

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  3. It still sounds like such an adventure :)

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  4. I have ALWAYS wanted to be called for jury duty.

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  5. The hanging out and waiting part is something they NEVER show on tv, and everyone else always down plays it . . . in saying that, I found that actually being on a jury was really tricky. And also kinda disheartening :( Judging people isn't easy . . .

    And ha! Go you, rocking your Taylor Swift :)

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  6. I love reading your story's!! I aspire to be as good as you are, at detailing a story in writing. You truly have a gift and I am waiting for your first book to come out. Lord knows I will be the first in line! I'm so glad that you survived your VERY interesting day in jury duty. I am 27 and have yet to be called for it.(I just knocked on wood) ;)

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  7. That whole imaginary conversation was hysterical but when you "said":

    Also, should I wear neutral colors?"

    I believe the type of laugh I let out, is classifed as a guffaw. Funny stuff, lady, funny stuff.

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  8. this post is too funny. but unfortunately, I recently got a summons for jury duty and I did not do a happy dance! I have been a couple times and it is always boring, kind of like your experience minus the Compton part. luckily, I just go to the court house in Ventura, which is not shady by any means. for me, jury duty just involves a long drive and a boring, unproductive day. but your post did remind me of that summons sitting in the bottom of my mail pile, so thanks! :)

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  9. Ooooh I've never been called for Jury Duty but I think I'd secretly be sort of excited to do it too!

    I mean, my addiction / obsession with Law and Order SVU means I'd be a star, right?

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  10. Hah, this was a fun story! Even though it wasn't very exciting for you. I've never had jury duty, but a small part of me is excited about fulfilling part of my duty as a U.S. citizen :)

    I totally feel you on the driving through dangerous neighborhoods too! Michigan is mostly lovely, but we do happen to have three very shady cities and getting turned around near there is SCARY, lol.

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  11. Oh man I love this post.

    "Also, when driving in Compton, make sure you have some rap music on hand, because when you're stuck at a red light blasting Taylor Swift, things tend to get a little awkward."

    I laughed when I read this though I'm in a quiet area "studying" for exams.

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  12. I've been called for jury duty twice. The first time, I made it into the jury selection room, but they never even got to questioning me. The second time, I sat in the waiting room for about 2 hours, and then they dismissed everyone. Dull.

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  13. Compton reminds me of the East Compton Clovers from Bring It On, which I may or may not have watched entirely way too many times in the past month.

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  14. haha, LOVED the imaginary conversation. I had jury duty a year ago and it wasn't as exciting as I thought it wasn't going to be either.

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  15. Haha! You did a whole post on jury duty and it was so much fun to read. You could write about all sorts of topics and make it an interesting read =)

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  16. The imaginary conversation, the awkward white girl in the corner, the grown man reading Twilight, and the ridiculously hairy neck... Hahaha!! This is great!

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  17. I'm pretty scared of being called for jury duty even though I REALLY want to do it - I'm registered to vote in a state where I no longer live (though I intend to return!) and am not sure how I'd explain that one away sufficiently...

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  18. Speaking as a law student, court house sucks. Yes, what's with all the uncomfortable chair? Do they feel better that everyone's uncomfortable? Maybe it helps people getting mad when they have jury duties.

    Also, your last line cracks me up.

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  19. Obviously they weren't that low on jurors in the first place, huh?! I sweat when I'm nervous too - I just sweat a lot in general - so the bit about deoderant made me laugh!

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  20. I got called for Jury Duty earlier this year. I sat in the room for four hours the first day, then they told us we weren't needed but would have to come back tomorrow. Then I went back the next day and sat for seven hours before NOT being selected for the actual Jury.
    I was kind of glad. I couldn't think of anything worse than deciding someone elses fate based on evidence given. I don't get excited about it at all.

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  21. Jury duty... Sigh. Summoned twice, never picked. Obviously, I just eek out loving support for serial killers and petty thieves.

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  22. I have jury duty this week! I am nervous but also excited. I imagine I might be hyping it up too much in my mind. While I was slightly annoyed to have to miss work, I had the same reaction you did to sitting in on a trial. With my luck, it will probably be a parking violation that I hear. I so enjoy your stories!

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  23. Glad you survived! I was a little worried reading your tweets :)

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  24. Aww...no worries. From what I can tell of your blog...you're a sweet white girl who likes pretty things. There's probably not much you can do to fit in -- not even rap music will help. Just go about your business and don't stare. People might look at you funny or tease you a bit, but as far as getting shot, unless you owe someone drug money (which I highly doubt), you'll be alright.

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  25. Honestly? I'd be terrified of jury duty. I'm indecisive.

    I absolutely hate driving through unfamiliar neighborhoods. I often run red lights when I'm lost (not on purpose!), so it's not good.

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  26. I just finished jury duty last week and was called to participate! I was juror number 11 and it was so interesting! I'd been wanting to do this for ages, so I was soooo excited when they called me!

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  27. Oh no! I always held such high hopes for jury duty! But the way you describe it, it just sounds like a government-mandated trip to the DMV.

    ...wait, what? The DMV is government-mandated?

    Dang. I guess I should do something about this unregistered boat sitting in my driveway.

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  28. Each time I get called in for jury duty, it's in Compton. I never changed my address from my parents' in Downey.

    The first time I went, I was terrified, but of course nothing horrible happened. This time I went, feeling all calm and stuff, and looked down while walking through the parking garage and found a large knife on the ground. Needless to say, my fear has returned! At least the Compton seats are super comfy in the juror bullpen. But unfortunately, I had to enjoy the comfy seats with a smelly old woman who decided to sit RIGHT next to me though tons of seats were open. Sigh.

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  29. Oh man I would have been freaked too! Yeesh.

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  30. Your (non)adventures just made me laugh out loud and wish I could be picked for jury duty sometime in the near future. And I'll be sure to start downloading rap music in case they send me to the Texas equivalent of Compton.

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  31. Posts like this are why I read your blog. You're interesting, funny, and make me feel less weird about the things that go through my head during the day. :)

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  32. You are just freakin' awesome. I have the sweat problem too. Very annoying.

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  33. Hi I just found you from a link from Brandy @ I am magic.

    I love your writing. I live in Socal too and I have been to Compton Court many times. I shouldn't say that too loudly but I have gotten tickets in the near vicinity on my way to work. You know someone goes to that court too much when they sherrifs know you by name (not me, just someone I saw in the elevator).

    Anyway, I just added you to my reader and I am crafter too (even though I don't talk about it on my blog which I should) and I will have to go through your archives.

    Hope all is well... have a great day!

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  34. So true. Jury duty is almost always disappointing. I got put on a case, chosen for a 2:00 trial, sat there for an hour while they made some sort of deal, and THEN my work made me come in for an hour. It blew.

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  35. Great post--especially the part about wearing neutral colors. Funny stuff. :)

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  36. oh man my jury duty adventures have been ridiculous and i hope to never get called again. go figure it's bound to happen again, haha.

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  37. Compton seems much less scary now that half my TFA friends teach there and tell me ridiculous stories about their middle schoolers. I kind of want to go see their classrooms just to see if it's that different.

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  38. Glad you survived! I went with my husband to LA once to visit his family, one of his aunts lives in Compton and I seriously had a panic attack the whole time we were there. But it really wasn't all that bad. Of course I'm *pretty sure* I heard a gunshot while we were in the house. ....
    Love your imaginary conversation! Too funny!

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  39. I always feel the same about jury duty. I always get inordinately excited to go, but then end up having class or something that causes me to get out of it. Lame.

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  40. I can't think of Jury Duty without thinking of Pauly Shore. I'm sure that says something about me as a person, but it's true.

    I am, however, glad you made it out unscathed.

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  41. LOL to this post. I recently had to fill out a survey about jury duty. Sigh. I hope I don't ever have to go

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  42. Haha, loved reading this!

    My dad was recently called for jury duty but once they started asking questions about a case.. they asked people who didn't believe in death row to leave so he left after the 3rd round of questions.

    Oh, and kudos to a man reading Twilight! I wish Tyler would read it so we can share the excitement over it.

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  43. OH man! my boyfriend in highschool grew up in Inglewood! Guess where we road tripped one summer! That's right! Preppy white girl in the middle of the ghetto... it was intense!

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  44. Yes, they obviously would pick you. Just as they would, without a shadow of a doubt, had also sent me to gangland had I been there with you.

    That's because the Universe is really funny like that and you know what, Universe? That was not very nice to send sweet little Kerri to Compton! Cut it out!

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  45. Man, I was just like you -- I always thought jury duty was going to be SUPER exciting. Maybe I should blame the movie "Jury Duty" with John Cusack. That movie was wayyyy cooler than my experience.

    I had to show up for jury duty three days in a row -- and all they did was spend three days picking who was going to serve on the jury. And I didn't even get a chance to go up to the front and answer questions about my job, hobbies, beliefs, etc. I was DYING to tell them. Haha. I just got to listen to everyone else and sit there doing nothing, no books, no nothing. Quiet in the courtroom! They never even finished picking their jury selections because on the third day, after taking our lunch break for the day, they announced they had settled the case out of court of whatever. I was pissed because I missed out on three days of pay from my job! Grrrr.

    Anyways, I can't believe they sent you to Compton! I seriously would have cried if I had gotten lost!

    Oh, and btw -- yay for being shoes twinsies! I'll admit that I actually copied your shoes! You and Katelin both linked to those cute flats on Twitter and then I couldn't resist when I passed the show isle in Target. Those are great.

    Oh, and you should totally buy the Babysitters Club Movie! I actually bought it last year! Yes, I'm the biggest nerd ever. But the sad part is that I didn't love it. But I think it was because I built it up way too much. I kept talking about getting it ... then I tried to rent it at Blockbuster and HOllywood Video but neither place carried it. And then I finally found it randomly at Borders and HAD to buy it. It was just pretty ridiculousness but maybe that's great ... I should watch it again and give it another chance! Or maybe I should have watched it with you! You'd probably appreciate it more than John. HA!

    p.s. Um, longest comment EVER, right!?

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  46. oh jury duty.
    meh.

    ive been summoned a couple times, but i didn't show. that's probably not good. love your stories though ;)

    xo. danni

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  47. of COURSE they would pick you. those bastards.

    when i was in dallas, i was bopping my head along to taylor on the radio and randy completely cranked it up, because he knows she is my bff. and i was totally all little white girl on the situation and was like "DO YOU WANT US TO GET SHOT?!" : )

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  48. omg. I remember when I went in for jury duty in Los Angeles I remember I had to wake up so early and got lost in chinatown then throughout that time I was praying that my name wouldn't be called. Twice my group got called to a courtroom, the last time was around 4:15pm the courts were closing at 5 and I started to have a panic attack thinking that it was going to be one of those long trials where I have to show up early day for the entire week. But thank god it didn't happen since both parties reached a settlement.
    *mouths 'thank you sweet jesus'*

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