Twelve years a laze …
It has been a little over a decade now that I have worked from my own home office, first part time and then about five years into it, full time. I am just discovering how luxurious that has been.
On Friday, after a long week of suspense, I was selected to be on a jury — I didn’t expect it. I cannot talk about the trial until it is over and I won’t. We are not even allowed to share anything with our SOs, so that will be particularly challenging. But, I am one of those ‘play by the rules’ to the ‘letter of the law’ folks, so my lips are zipped until the end. The trial is expected to last for awhile. Sigh.
As I posted way back when I began this blog last summer, I am a creature of schedules, lists, discipline, order and routine. I am not wild about the unexpected (unless of course, someone wants to lay a very big tax-free check on me, which isn’t likely). So, being summoned to jury duty and there being no way to really avoid it (I am not clever at such things), I found myself pouting and sulky about having to interrupt my life, show up somewhere every day, at a certain time, and put myself through the rigors of the process.
Of course, I dreaded being chosen. It took all week for them to identify the right panel. Later, I will tell you about that process, because it was interesting. I had gone through it once before but was not selected. It is part random and part strategy by the attorneys involved. A good selection system, imho.
But what really struck me was my rather self-centered reaction. I don’t relish being out of my element, for starters. This is a heavy responsibility and I am feeling woefully ignorant of actual law, despite a lifetime of exposure to these kinds of things, as a layman. I truly wish I had taken some law classes and think they should be mandatory for the well-educated citizen. Other than high school civics, I have only a cursory knowledge in this area and that makes me feel inadequate. Who am I to judge anyone?
Then there is all the extra prep involved, pivoting to be in court for the forseeable future. I will have to come up with outfits every single day. No problem doing that in terms of selection, I have literally at least a hundred of everything.
The problem is the opposite. Now I have to put a public me together again, every day, with a different look, hair included (and my hair, while below the shoulders, is layered and fine — it doesn’t willingly lend itself to too much variety, basically, it is up in a knot or ponytail, or down and annoying). I haven’t had to do that daily for a decade. OK, so now every afternoon when I get back, I will put the stuff out for the next morning — something I used to have to do, for years. At least it injects some creativity into the situation that relieves the potential tedium of sitting through this trial, something I have never done before.
The other thing. The food issue and my strategic eating regimen. Ugh. I ate lunch at the courthouse cafeteria this past week, so I wouldn’t have to leave and go through security twice. The place was shockingly clean and the food prep area was really immaculate, but the selection does not jibe with my vegan tastes, easily. So I will be bringing my own snacks in an insulated bag (like an eight-year old), that Geoff will put together for me, angel that he is.
For another inconvenience, the commute. I have to travel out of my comfort zone and buck the hideous LA traffic, twice a day. That was one of the primary reasons I left my last job – being stuck in my car (a great car, all tricked out at the time) for a total of 3 hours a day is not my idea of paradise, I don’t care how exciting the job is. OK, so I will have to suck it up and just put up with that drive. Technically, you can be sent to jury service anywhere in LA County and it is a huge area. You practically have to be legless and armless to request a location of convenience, these days. They just assume you will do what it takes, even if that means three forms of public transportation. Angelenos are not mass transit fans. When you get on a bus or train here, well, you saw the movie Speed, so, consider that the template.
Work. I cannot take assignments while doing this. Sheesh, as if I am Queen Midas. It is not just the bank, it is the attitude when you tell people, clients, “No”. Sure, they can understand, but they go away visualizing an X on your forehead. Not good sales development. On the other hand, I am taking my Kindle FHDX with me and have a bunch of great books to read, including a terrific book on how the Jesuits suggest we live our lives. My reading interests are ‘catholic’, lol, to say the least. Finishing up Bloodlands by Tim Snyder right now. The books I like are invariably non-fiction either historical or how-to’s, over 400 pages (ideally 600), small font, fewest pictures (unless there are graphs). No joke. After nine years of college/grad school, I cannot read anything frivolous — my mind will wander or I tend to skim for the important points (and there rarely are any), so I don’t bother trying any more. There are long breaks during the course of the day at a trial, so I will revel in getting some reading done.
Small talk. I hate to admit this, but I am not interested in a lot of palaver with my fellow panel members. At lunch, I want to eat and read in peace and calm (since I am high strung under the best of circumstances, this will be a tense experience for so many reasons — the last thing I need is a gab-fest.) Why am I feeling so anti-social? I am not sure, because, actually I am an extrovert, so it is a bit of a conundrum. Still working on figuring it out. I do have Sun in Leo and Moon in Scorpio, maybe that explains it, for those of you familiar with the hermetic paradigms adopted by astrologers. Again, one of the reasons I left my last job was to avoid all the sturm und drang that comes with bosses, co-workers and employees, as well as the interruptions to getting work done, etc. So, I am rusty in the art of pedestrian chit-chat.
Weaning myself away from my devices, which I am usually glued to 18 hours or more per day, will be like withdrawal. At every break, people immediately jumped on their phones. It’s either confine myself to my phone or bring my ultrabook along with the Kindle. Then I would be schlepping so much junk, that moving around is difficult, especially if I do weaken, and get on the cafeteria line here and there. It is a dicey proposition juggling the tray, the beverage, all my stuff, and the money, etc. I know, because I did it Friday and it almost did my outfit in, lol.
Then, of course, on Wednesday, between selection days, I foolishly decided to skim the pool. It is ringed by large, flowering trees and they have been dropping seeds, pollen, blossoms like crazy due to our warm winter and early spring and the one solid week we had of torrential rain earlier this year. Something got to my sinuses and now I either have a cold or an allergy. So, I was the only one in the courtroom Friday blowing my nose and sneezing. Lovely. I am resting this weekend, staying indoors, and if this thing doesn’t improve I will cave in and take an Allegra — a rare act of desperation, for me, as I shun pharmaceuticals in general.
When I woke up this morning, trying to picture a particular outfit and obsessing on the location of a specific pair of pants, I realized the problem. I am becoming a lazy recluse! I loathe sloth and avoidance as a rule and here I am giving a great imitation of a pampered little princess. I need to buck up and embrace this adventurous foray into the justice system.
Toward the end, I will bring my pocket camera and take some pictures of the area surrounding the court complex. It is quite interesting and I may even sample some of the quaint little restaurants I saw – a reward for being a grown up and doing my civic duty without more grumbling.
And, of course, I know that by doing this, I will be serving democracy, learning something new and maybe appreciating more just how difficult it is when jurors are faced with a life altering decision. Instead of Monday-morning quarterbacking, I will be wrestling with it up close and personal.
None of this is meant with irreverence and serving on a jury is supposed to be a solemn matter. I intend to treat it that way and find some enjoyment in having a break from work and dusting off my interpersonal talents, in the process. I am an avid note-taker and want to make sure that wherever the evidence leads, I will go with objectivity and come to wise and fair decisions.
So I may be around a little less than usual, but I will be here whenever I can, reading, commenting and posting on everything except this subject, until it is over.
Images: canstockphoto.com, skidoo.com, amazon.com,123rf.com