- 5:36 p.m.
First, and most importantly, NO, I am not ON THE LAMB from jury duty.
I put in my ONE DAY, and thanks to the crazy ingredients that are me, I was RELEASED the same day. THAT portion of the story will follow in PART TWO.
Following is my report of the events leading up to THAT.
Something I’m calling:
ANXIETY. You read it here first.
I was filled with it as I posted my last update and had JUST found out that I would, indeed need to report to the Superior Court House in Downtown Los Angeles to perform my civic duty last Wednesday.
Okay, right. ANXIETY. I was HEMORAGING IT, and I always figure that if you can ELIMINATE any of the UNKNOWN ASPECTS of an EVENT, it will alleviate some of the FABRICATING/EXAGERRATING that my head will do in the hours leading up to the event….thus alleviating some of my ANXIETY…. So… My girlfriend/same-sex partner/lady-lover/meal-ticket/what-did-she-do-in-a-previous-life-to-deserve-THIS Chick- chick had NO OTHER CHOICE but to “TAKE ME ON A DRY RUN” (no, that’s NOT a euphemism for something sexual!!).
We climbed into My girlfriend/same-sex partner/lady-lover/meal-ticket/could-she-kill-me-and-get-away-with-it’s car around 9pm on JURY DUTY EVE to travel the path I would take the following morning to get to the special “jurors only” parking lot, find the route I would travel by foot from that parking lot to the courthouse, etc.
Los Angeles, Downtown…. Beautiful at night.
The lights, the buildings…. the lack of traffic and people.
We exited at the off ramp I would exit the following morning. We merged where I would need to merge. We turned where I would need to turn. We noted (okay, I noted, on my YAHOO MAP) all the necessary twists and tricks for the next day… and found the special parking lot and the “jurors only” entrance to that parking lot.
Then, my AMAZINGLY PATIENT girlfriend/same-sex partner/lady-lover/meal-ticket/dry-run driver flipped an illegal u-turn in the middle of the empty street in front of the “jurors only” parking lot and we plotted the path that I would WALK the following morning from the parking lot to the COURT HOUSE…. 2 blocks away (yes, I’m THAT bad).
DONE. Located. Rehearsed. Dry-runned. Whew!
BIG, DEEP, SIGH OF RELIEF.
THOSE unknown elements had now been eliminated. I knew how to get there, where THERE was, and could even imagine myself walking the route at a brisk pace with the early-morning air breezing past my already-rosy cheeks.
I was set. Surely I’d SLEEP LIKE A BABY who had completed a dry run and had jury duty the next day.
I slept, but I slept with that special “Oh no, am I gonna oversleep and not hear the alarm and then be late to jury duty?” sleep.
Not necessarily “un-restful”, but not filled with peace and tranquility, either.
I woke up 3 minutes before the alarm went off (almost always happens) and it felt early. Damn, it WAS early. This must be what it’s like to have a REGULAR JOB (or a paper route, or both). I admit that I rise later than most, spend a good number of my days procrastinating at my desk in my home-office and then wonder where the hours went.
This day however, JURY DUTY DAY would be different.
I showered, dressed in the pre-chosen, already-layed-out ensemble, applied all necessary products, blow-dried (with the silencer on) and was ready to go at 6.30 am. Oy! Usually at 6:30 am I’m waking up to pee (sorry) and then turn on the TV briefly, scanning all three "24 hour Cable News Networks" for any Breaking News/National Tragedies, then back to sleep for “stolen second sleep” for another hour or so. Guilty as charged. Not today, today I was ready to go, out into the world of people who do THIS every single day… the whole get up early(ish) and go to WORK.. thing… to JOBS… to FUNCTION… to have a DAILY ROUTINE that involves contact with several other humans. Wow!
I kissed my still-sleeping girlfriend/same-sex partner/lady-lover/meal-ticket… who had already altered her sleeping position to take full advantage of the empty space beside her and was now forming a giant letter X with her body… grabbed my BAG and headed out the door.
Note: Contents of my BAG-
• 4 Notepads (1 yellow, legal, lined, 2 smaller, white with lined pages, one with blank pages)
• 6 pens, 2 sharpies
• 2 gossipy/trashy/entertainmenty magazines for light-reading
• 2 scripts I’m working on (one to undergo a minor re-write, one that is just being started)
• 2 packs of gum (sugarless, fresh-breath inducing)
• 2 protein bars
• 1 bottle of water, sip-top lid
• 1 book of short stories, waiting to be read
• previously mentioned Yahoo Map to destination with Dry run notes included
• 1 roll of TUMS, tropical fruit flavor
• 1 bottle of EXCEDRIN MIGRAINE
• Dental floss
• 2 Spongebob Squarepants band-aids
• Feminine Protection, just in case (not due for a week, but you never know, with the added stress, WHAT could happen).
Bag securely over my shoulder, I got into my car, pulled out of the driveway and the next leg of my journey began.
Traffic? Traffic at 6:45 am? Why? Where did all these people have to be? Did people really have jobs that started at 7:00? Wasn’t there something they could do about that? Were they happy with that? Did they have to go to bed REALLY EARLY on a regular basis, or did they just TAKE NAPS at their desks during the day?
Traffic continued and I wondered if my estimate of 30 minutes, which had seemed EXCESSIVE would now prove INSUFFICIENT. Oy.
Traffic finally eased up and I saw my merger/off-ramp approaching. I briefly flashed back to the night before, to the dry run, and smiled an informed-smile, as I knew that I’d need to merge, then get in the middle lane.
Smoothly. Perfectly. Effortlessly. Seamlessly.
I arrived at the special “jurors only” parking lot, took the ticket from the attendant, and followed a long line of cars up a ramp to the top level of the parking structure.
I parked, noticing the other jurors and potential jurors parking and exiting their cars, wondering what jobs and lives THEY might have left behind today to come and perform their civic duty. I also wondered if any of THEM might have done a “dry run’ the night before. Chances are: None of them.
So…. I exited my car, and joined the others as we silently walked single-file down several flights of stairs. I noticed that we all had our “serious juror faces" on, as if we had ALREADY BECOME the jurors we were potentially meant to be. I felt different, really I did.
My previously-plotted walking path worked perfectly (and I also was able to follow the line of other, perhaps more experienced jurors) all the way to the courthouse (2 blocks). As the random, anonymous group of us waited at a traffic light, everyone looked down at their shoes, or up at the sky, or directly in front of them. No eye contact. Confidentiality had begun. It was then, for the second time that day, that I realized HOW EARLY IT WAS and the fact that I was up, dressed, and in the middle of downtown LA, on the way to do my civic duty.
As the random, anonymous group of us approached the Court House, I enjoyed my first POTENTIAL JUROR PERK: We completely bypassed the 200+ people who were standing in line and entered the courthouse through a “Jurors Only” special entrance where we were x-rayed and wand-ed and security-checked and sent on our way to the escalators to the 2nd floor where the next part of our potential jurors journey awaited us.
---------------------END OF JURY DUTY, PART ONE- “Getting There”---------------------
JURY DUTY, PART TWO- “Okay, I’m here: Now what?” to follow tomorrow.
Xoxoxo more soon!!