Live blogs abound in sporting events, award shows, and even at the President inauguration on Monday. Today, I had jury duty, and if I had decided to live blog the enriching experience, it might have looked something like this…
8:00a.m. Rushing towards new courthouse complex. I should be right on time. I can’t believe this is my first time walking down this part of Federal Street, after working downtown for so many years. I had no idea there were two beautiful old courthouse buildings on this street that date from the civil war era, but then again, it is Salem. History is everywhere.
8:03a.m. Through the metal detector and on my way to the jury pool.
8:08a.m. Comfortably seated with a “Rolling Stone” magazine. Let the waiting begin!
8:16a.m. Welcomed by officer of the court. His speech touches on our responsibility, but focuses mostly on parking for jurors or lack thereof. I feel good because I parked in a garage, which they will surely validate.
8:18a.m. Educational film just began. Massachusetts has one of the oldest constitutions in continuous use. The US constitution is based on it. Woot woot! Small concession for Pats loss on Sunday.
8:21a.m. Okay, so according to the film, our two pillars of liberty are 1) the right to vote and 2) the right to a trial by jury.
8:26a.m. Women have only served on juries in Massachusetts since the 1950’s. Firefighters, teachers, and mothers of young children were excused from jury duty until the 1980’s, but no longer. Speaking of kiddos, I need to be out of here by 3:30pm to pick mine up from daycare.
8:39a.m. Judge enters. He looks and talks just like my dad!
8:49a.m. He brought up “pillars of liberty” again. Well, yes, I guess jury duty is critical to the democratic process. I am serving an important role here.
8:52a.m. The judge has now referenced D-Day, Brown vs Board of Education, and the Truman presidency in his speech on civic duty. I am essential to our freedom. USA! USA!
9:02a.m. Civic duty apparently translates to reading articles on the final season of 30 Rock and Vampire Weekend’s new album while you wait for your number to be called.
9:34a.m. I wish they had a pot of coffee going in here. Maybe there’s a break room around here somewhere? Or a snack bar?
9:49a.m. My number has still not been called. Back to “Rolling Stone.” David Bowie’s new album is getting good reviews, Atoms for Peace too.
10:12a.m. Just found out that the court does not provide free coffee or validate parking. Civic duty losing luster.
10:24a.m. Now killing time on Facebook. Stumbled upon an article in the “Salem News” about the historic courthouses I passed by this morning. They are currently vacant, and a bill in the house would turn control of them over to the city. What will they become? Apartments? Shops? Restaurants?
10:46a.m. There are six flat screen TVs in the jury pool! And we can’t get a stinkin’ cup of coffee! Seriously!
10:55a.m. My number is still not called. Officer of the Court mentions that a criminal trial can last 2-3 weeks! Did I miss that earlier in the presentation? Luckily, it doesn’t look like I will be selected for the next O.J. trial. But I am still in consideration for a civil court case.
11:06a.m. Done with magazine, done with Facebook. Bored. I text my dad, an attorney in Michigan, to get his thoughts on the parking/coffee situation.
11:18a.m. Wow. Juror #89 has some wicked needlepoint skills! What is that? A cemetery? A bat? A trompe l’oeil Quiddich match?
11:35a.m. I have no idea what I am going to blog about this week. Maybe I can turn this epic day of waiting into some kind of post.
12:08p.m. Response from Dad. While I have been idle, he has been industrious. He has taken it upon himself to interview a Michigan judge on the controversy. He discovers that there is no free coffee or parking for jurors in our town either. Even judges pay for their own coffee.
12: 15p.m. Dismissed. All seven scheduled cases settle/plead out. One more and the district attorneys get a set of steak knives (Name that movie reference).
12:32p.m. On my way home from the courthouse, I drive over a nail. Unbelievable. The rest of the day will now be spent waiting at the mechanic. Hopefully they have a good magazine selection.