Disclaimer: I know I’ve written about jury duty a few times, but this will be the last time (hopefully) for at least one year!
Sitting in jury duty yesterday (the day finally arrived!) with not much else to do besides read a book I wasn’t that into and beg my phone to turn into an effective wireless hotspot (it didn’t), the best thing I could think to do was people watch. Maybe you’ve met some of these people in your jury service, too.
The Sleeper. Where are the limits when it comes to falling asleep in public? It’s okay on an airplane, but not on a subway, right? Is it acceptable to fall asleep in the jury room? There were at least two people who just curled up in the corner, resting their head on a book (shoulda brought a travel pillow!). Please tell me — is this socially acceptable these days?
The Snorer. A slight variation on The Sleeper. I kept hearing a strange grumbling noise, and I turned around to see it was from a lady a few rows behind me, very much enjoying her afternoon nap.
The Borrower. “Oh, is that a cell phone charger you have?” one woman near me asked. “Do you think it would work on my Samsung phone?” She seemed nice enough, so I let her charge her phone for a bit with my charger. Then she asked if I had a Post-It Note. Sorry! A few minutes later, we were all dismissed around 2 p.m., which is good — if we had stayed there all afternoon, who knows if I would have had to lend her my computer, my Emily Giffin novel, my jacket, my granola bar, or my tissue.
The Girlfriends. I saw a table of four women laughing as if they’ve been best friends forever. Did they come to jury service together? Are you allowed to do that? Or did they just instantly bond and now they’re going to set up a weekly lunch date to talk about their great time together at the courthouse? Maybe I should have joined them — they definitely seemed like they were having a good time.
The “I Want My Newspaper Back.” I didn’t actually see this person, but one of the jury room monitors told us that if we were called to a case, we would be allowed to have our reading material, but newspapers should not be visible. If we brought a bag, we can put the newspaper in the bag; if we didn’t bring a bag, we can put our name on the newspaper, give it to a clerk, and retrieve it at the end of the day. Now, what I learned in journalism school is that the only reason to hold onto a newspaper after you’ve read it is 1. if you wrote one of the articles, or 2. if you suspect you might have a cockroach in your apartment — and luckily for me, once, I had some newspapers because of item 1 that I was able to use for item 2.