A Day in the Jury Pool

Warning: Read no further if you dislike random thoughts that have little or nothing to do with cycling.

walking around at lunch I found this cool art in an alley

I went in for jury duty this week (today actually, but not knowing how long I might serve, I didn't know when I would be able to write / publish this). The duty part didn't extend beyond sitting in the assembly room for a couple hours with a hundred or more other citizens, until half of them are led out to an assignment and you're left to sit a while longer in a deathly quite room, except for the old guy snoring loudly at the end of the row. Not that I mind especially, its a small role to play in a, hopefully, fair and equitable system that, needless to say, would be far less so it we didn't all play our part.

Waiting. It seems counter to cycling, which as a pure activity is all about movement. Waiting and activity seem like polar opposites. Waiting. While I scribble in this note pad my fellow prospective jurors gaze at phones, read magazines or books, slouch in their seats, stretch, wave their legs out in front of themselves, slumber, snore. For a couple minutes a muffled Rob Zombie song played at the far back of the room; heard through someone else's earbuds stuck deep in their ears from the opposite side of the room, I am surprised to not see blood flowing from the fans ruptured drums. I like some Zombie, but other, less willing listeners appear to be getting anxious until, suddenly, the volume is lowered and quiet returns.

Ah, the snoring man has woken and has noticed the hat worn by the gent sitting in front of him and a quite confused discussion has ensued. Back to my reading - it is not the sort of book (more about it in a future post) that I would typically read but, with two chapters to go, it has been an interesting journey; I keep coming across song references, short pieces of lyrics, strategically woven into the general text - just enough to recognize the intent, yet few enough to keep from becoming overused cliche. Today's reference "it made my skin crawl"  is close enough to "it makes my skin crawl" that I immediately recognize it and stumbled through the song in my head until I could pull enough notes and words together to hammer out a reasonable performance.

Nice, released a little early for lunch, so instead of one hour thirty, we get one hour forty-five minutes and I walk to a nearby restaraunt / panaderia I have been to before, where I eat too much and have to waddle back to the courthouse in a semi-dazed food stupor. A half hour later those of us still around all shuffle out of the assembly room and crowd the elevators, making our way to the courtroom we have been assigned to. I did not really know what to expect but


This has suddenly become especially serious. Serious as shit as some might say. The Justice up on the bench looks like a cyclist (why would I think that at this moment) and conveys the seriousness of what is afoot, but keeps it light. The Prosecutor, the Defendants (2) and their lawyers all look us over. One of the lawyers for the defense attempts to make a joke, "good afternoon, jurors". Silence. Trying again, "good afternoon, jurors." Oh man, I would not want him defending me, but we respond with "good day" anyway, just to get past the awkwardness. 

It's unsettling, unnerving. No, those are not quite the right words, maybe odd will do - kind of feels like an audition, and every eye is on you, looking for the slightest of signs, that you are acceptable or not. Well, actually the selection process had not reached that point yet, but it is still part of the whittling down - the Prosecutor left a while ago, but the defendants, and their legal counsel are still in the room, but then what else do they have to do, where else do they have to be?

Excused. Work may pay for some service days, but not for the length of time this trial will go. Well, it was an interesting day, and I got far further along in the process than ever before, but I will be glad to get back to the routine and simplicity of thinking on cycling, rather than murder.