I was summoned to carry out my civic duty and wait for 8 hours for someone to tell me they don’t need me anymore. It was a long day, but I also got to eat a quiet toddler-free lunch outside, read my book, and catch up on news, so I can’t complain.
tl;dr: I think I’m ready to go back to work..? Ask me again in another 3 months.
Sadness just craps on your face when you walk into the courthouse: the dingy walls, the dated floors, a Squand-looking water fountain that was probably hot shit in the 80s. Everything felt like there was a gray, greasy film laying over it. It was only when lawyers and other important looking professionals power-walked down the hallway when I remember that it’s 2017.
With my tote filled with my e-reader, phone charger, and enough snacks to feed an army of hungry toddlers, I waited for all of an hour before I was assigned a juror number and courtroom. What people don’t tell you is that the second round of waiting, waiting to be questioned by lawyers, is the worst. No phones allowed; you sit in a tiny pew; you can smell just about everyone; and you watch people talk about their lives.It was like watching a terrible first date over and over again.
Occasionally, my head cocked up when I heard someone was in a creative field or a chief executive of anything and wondered how that person arrived there. I wished the lawyers asked more questions about their education and career paths more so than about whether or not they’ve seen a murder happen or if they’re familiar with this particular neighborhood. It started to become a little like a Nerdist podcast for me, except here, it’s not a conversation between two friends, but a vetting process to find someone who will pass judgment on a complete stranger.
It wasn’t until lunch break when I started to see how this could be a gift. Here I am, sitting out in the sun, enjoying lunch and not a single person bothered me. There wasn’t a kid throwing bread crust on my plate. There were no floors to sweep or dishes to wash. I don’t feel awkward sitting alone, staring out down Central Ave. because daydreaming was justifiable. I started to convince myself that this could be my guilt-free getaway from taking care of an exhausting 2-year-old, day-in and day-out.
We head back in and I start to fantasize about being chosen. I get to overanalyze a story (which I already do with TV shows) and change a person’s life forever. I am living the dream. I am making American great again! I am God.
I sit back down in the crowded courtroom, clutching my jury number. It’s getting closer to my big moment where I walk up to the jury box and answer questions and when it will be decided that I will be given the chance to change history. I’m starting to practice my answers in my head and make sure I project my voice with confidence.
I get called. I stand up. I say my little introduction spiel. And that’s it. They didn’t have any questions for me. I guess my demographic didn’t fit the case. Out of 45 people, they skipped one person. Me.
The lawyers and a judicial clerk were passing the final list of jurors back and forth like they’re passing notes in middle school. Meanwhile I’m sitting here thinking about everything that’s transpired: how I started to view jury duty as a vacation from taking care of my son; how I wanted to hear more about people’s career paths; how eager I was to talk in front of strangers. Am I that starved for attention that I was looking forward to talking about why I should give up the next 5 – 7 days of freedom to freaking JURY DUTY?
I wasn’t picked. Any normal person would be relieved. Eventually, I was relieved. They obviously weren’t interested in the stay at home mom who freelances on the side. Does anyone ever want to hear from a stay at home mom, especially one who freelances “social media work”? I remembered I said, “Currently, I’m a stay at home mom and freelance…” explaining to my peers that this status is temporary; I’m going to do things.
I told myself I was going back to work 3 months after Miles was born, but here we are, 26 months later, and I wear milk-stained hoodies 24/7. I had no idea that it would be so difficult to leave Miles, but I also didn’t suspect that being at home for 2 years would drive me to the point of looking forward to jury duty. I say this every time the season changes, but I think I’m ready to go back to work.