No one told me jury duty would be boring. Just kidding, everyone did. But no one explained in detail just how boring it wold be and just how far the lawyer’s hairlines would be receding. Or hot the room would be. And how many people would fail to understand basic questions, like “name” and “where do you live?” If this is our justice system, then count me out.
Give me the world of the TV courtroom where everyone’s full of emotion. And their heads are full of hair. Where people are impassioned and crazy and wronged. Where anyone can shoot the defendant at any time and every juror looks like an Ann Taylor Loft model.
That’s what I expected to walk into on Tuesday. I know, I know. Real life is nothing like TV. But TV’s based on real life. Right? So the two should kind of resemble each other a little more. Like distant second cousins. What I walked into on Tuesday morning felt more like a second cousin to the DMV. Which I suppose makes sense. They’re both run by the government.
Unlike your favorite law-themed show of choice, nothing gets resolved in an hour. Or a few hours. Or even a day. Think of the slowest human beings you know. The people who are always running late and are always taking 6 hours to finish a simple cup of froyo. Those people would outpace our justice system.
It’s like watching one long endless commercial right after the opening credits. Except the commercial never ends. And the show never starts and all you’re left with is the image of a dead woman in a dumpster.
I walked in promptly at 9 AM and proceeded to sit around for a bit with the other jurors. Who did not look like TV extras. Not even a little bit. Finally the court clerk walked in and explaining in excruciating detail how the next three days would go. She spoke to us like we’re all idiots. Like we’re the people who watch Wipeout. And you know what, I suppose some of the people there are idiots. But still, I don’t think the need to repeat every instruction 16 times was totally necessary.
After orientation, no one had sex. You might not be surprised. But I associate orientation with college still. And after that one ended, a lot of people had sex. So it’s not completely out of line that I thought it could happen. No, instead of engaging in sexual activities, we just sat there. For hours.
You see, there wasn’t a case for us to be picked for yet. Say what?! I know. It’s wacky how the system works. The courthouse doesn’t even know which cases they’ll need jurors for until the lawyers show up at the courthouse.
Finally at 12:30, we got called into the juror room. Now, I thought to myself manically, let the games begin. This is when we get the full rundown on a scandalous case. One full of heinous sex crimes and unspeakable human beings.
Nope. The lawyer explained, on a kindergarten level, that his client was suing the city for a slip ‘n fall. Cool.
Then we got a two hour lunch break. Excessive? Yes. No one needs two hours to eat lunch. Especially when you have no one to spend the two-hour lunch talking to and your phone battery is running on low.
And then when we returned, for those of you who don’t know how jury duty works, the lawyers questioned each person in the room individually to see if they’d be a good fit for the case. As someone who slips and falls all the time from my own natural clumsniesss (also know as Zooey Deschanel-ness), I didn’t have the patience for this.
The worst part is that there’s no snide remarks and smart detective comments. Everyone plays this so straight. Like loosen up, this case is boring. Make a few jokes. Take an improv class or two.
These suggestions made with only my eyes didn’t go over so well. I didn’t get picked. Hallelujah and god bless. But twist, I still had to return the next day in case they needed more jurors for another case. Because life’s a cruel joke. And because I truly thought law & order got resolved in an hour. 40 minutes with commercial breaks. It doesn’t. It’s a never ending experience that makes me wonder who thought it would be a good TV show.
I suppose that’s why they had to throw in some bizarreness and sexual tension between Benson and Stabler. Otherwise, it would be unwatchable. Like the court clerk I met this week who claimed people often mistaked him for Tom Cruise. Even though they bear no resemblance to each other.
In conclusion. Ignore your civic duty. Postpone your responsibility. Just watch a few courtroom dramas instead. They’re a lot more fun and the people are a lot better looking.