- This was sitting in front of the entrance to the courthouse when I arrived this morning... On time.
Which of course made me late. Which of course led to the Late Guy Walk Of Shame down the two rows of on-time jurors lining the hallway to the courtroom.
As I walked toward the baliff, some smartass said "Three times in a row, what an asshole..." just loud enough for his buddies he just made this week to hear.
I had to shrug it off. Not only was I headed right for a baliff, and not only was the smartass half my size (meaning instant jail time if I so much as breathed on him, since no jury in the world - even one comprised of the morons surrounding me right now - would ever find in favor of the 6' 3", 260lb, heavily tattooed ex-football-playing MMA guy), but he did have a point.
I'd have probably said the same sort of thing... You know, if I was on time every day and actually made buddies while I was here.
That's really the most striking part of this experience for me. Usually, I'd make conversation with friendly people while waiting around as lawyers and judges jerk us around. But this week, I just want to keep to myself and GTFO.
Im a joy to experience right now.
So the smartass is all pissy with me for being 5 minutes late to the joy of sitting outside this goddamn courtroom for hours while jack shit takes place.
I do not understand how the lawyers couldn't just vet at least half of us based on the damn questionnaire, or why they couldn't call us to come in when it's our turn to talk to the lawyers about why we are awful at rendering judgement on this case. The inability to get anything done is the worst part. Being charged by a judge to sit idle is basically being imprisoned, as far as I'm concerned.
To top it off, I have the southern suburban version of The View sitting across from me:
Four older housewives jawing about how miserable life is every day... One woman seriously just confessed to faking depression with her doctor to get Zanax to spike her husband's food with so he isn't so grumpy.
Seriously. She said this aloud, in a damn courthouse. And the sad thing is, none of the other ladies were appalled - they actually laughed and said they should try it.
They call all of us into the courtroom, announce that they've picked their 14 (12 + 2 alternates), and proceed to call out names. Based on the things I heard out of the mouths of the people they picked, they couldn't have picked 14 dumber, more inept people if they actually did DNA testing for markers of stupidity and laziness.
They told those of us not selected that we're good for the next 3 years and bid us adieu. We went downstairs to the jury room to check ourselves out, and boom: lights off and a "back at 2:00pm" sign.
Could they possibly fuck with us any more?
I just took off. I'll call in my goodbyes. I can't be there anymore. This experience has been such a clusterfuck that I'm probably never going to watch another show depicting a courtroom ever again (I'll miss you, Dexter).
And just to clarify - I don't hate that I was called upon to fulfill a civic duty, or that I was called away from things I needed / wanted / would rather be doing. I hate that the system is so fucking stupid about how it manages everyone's time. I can't help but see the cracks in the foundation - they could easily have us fill out our questionnaires and check in online (or, even in person Monday morning and digitize the answers). Then, they could let us take off and just call us when they need us. The attorneys could read from the pool of jurors that week and make an open casting of 60 (or better, 30) and call those folks in - OR, create yet another online form for them to fill out, saving everyone in the world a ton of time and taxpayers a ton of money.
But no. It makes more sense to have 300 people congregate in a room with plastic chairs, watch Fox News, and wait to be called, only to be told to wait even more, only THEN to be told "thanks, but we don't need you - and since we never even questioned you, we probably knew that from day one. But fuck you, we're the court, and even though you pay our salaries, we can still put our gavel right up your butt anytime we want. Have a nice rest of your broken-ass week."
I'm just glad it's over.