Civic Duty
High Drama

July 28, 1999

As of this past Monday I've been doing my civic duty. I am on jury duty. Ten long days of waiting for something to happen.

The last time I was on jury duty was about five years ago. That time I served downtown. I was in Civil Court the whole time. The system was not very high tech and you could really get away with murder.

I told them my company only paid for five days of service (they pay for 10). A few times when I would hear my fellow panel members being called I would conveniently step outside for a smoke.

At the time I was studying horticulture and landscape design and I had a midterm so I used my time wisely. I studied. In between smokes and actual times being sent up for a panel.

I was excused two times in voir dire. You never know why but I was glad both times.

The first case involve a woman who was suing the 99 cent store. She bought a can of crab there, ate it, and got sick. Now there's a big surprise. I had issues with this case. First of all: who is stupid enough to buy canned fish, much less canned crab, at the 99 cent store???? Secondly, if it was the crab that made her ill why wasn't she suing the manufacturer/canner of the crab?

The second case involved a disgruntled tenant and his landlord. Apparently the tenant had to move (a provision that was included in his lease) to another floor in the same building. When he vacated his suite he saw fit to take everything with him. This includes all the electrical fixtures, plumbing fixtures (including sinks and toilets), and who knows what else.

Thank you very much juror number three, you're excused.

At any given time at least one of my fellow employees is on jury duty. They have all managed to get on interesting cases.

When I got my summons I was kind of excited. I was serving in Burbank (which means you also serve in Glendale). This made me happy. Both are much closer to my home than Downtown. There is excellent shopping right next to the Burbank courthouse. Glendale has a bunch of new shops within walking distance of the courthouse. It was almost going to be like a two week paid vacation, without having to use vacation time. With the exception of the first day you generally don't have to report in until about 9:30 and you're usually done by 4, 5 at the latest. I could live with that.

Burbank/Glendale courts see far fewer cases then their downtown counterpart. So, as a rule, when you're serving at B/G you have to go "on call." This means you show up the first day, spend a lot of time sitting around and then go home. The next day you are supposed to report back to work. Then, every day you call in, listen to a recorded message and find out whether or not you have to go in that afternoon or the next morning.

Back to the office I went on Tuesday, after informing everyone I'd be gone for two weeks. I figured it was good for brownie points. I called in Tuesday afternoon. No jurors needed thank you. Please call back tomorrow. I worked the whole day. I called in this afternoon. Right before lunch. I'd pretty much already decided I was going to leave whether or not I was needed. I wasn't. I went to lunch. Came back and said I had to go do my civic obligation. Shame on me.

As penance I came home and cleaned the kitchen.

I'll go back to the office tomorrow. Call in. I probably won't leave early unless I need to go to court, but we'll see.

The thing with call in is that every day you call in you get credit toward your jury duty service, unless you're put on a panel. You could have been calling in for nine days, and on day ten get picked for a jury and have to serve for ten days. So, you never know when it's going to end.

I hope something happens soon.

In other news, Sister #2 called tonight trying to embroil me in her high drama.

Apparently a mutual friend told her I said something about her to him. Something that was so absurd I couldn't believe she'd even dignify the comment with asking me about it.

She called, pissy as usual, and confronted me. Of course to convey this to me she had to be as convoluted and circuitous as humanly possible. I told her it was the most absurd thing in the world. I am not, and have never been, in the habit of airing family dirty laundry to friends, much less make up complete and total lies and then pass it along as the gospel.

When I wouldn't engage in a debate, argument, or drama with her it took the wind out of her sails.

I guess I'm just no fun.

Until next time. . .