I kind of always wanted to get summoned for jury duty. Not that I think it’s glamorous or fun, but fuck–what a prime opportunity to people-watch, right? And that’s kind of my thing.
A few weeks ago, I got my official notice in the mail, filled it out immediately and tucked it back in the mail slot for the mailman to retrieve the next day. When Henry came home from work that day, he saw the torn-open notice and asked, “Where’s the rest of it?”
“In the mail slot, already filled out!” I answered all incredulously, like how was this not his first guess? “I REALLY want to do this!”
“You’re fucked up. No one WANTS to do jury duty.” (Too bad at least TEN people have told me otherwise in the last day.) And then Henry dampened my parade by explaining to me the ins and outs of jury duty, how I would need to check the website on a designated date to see if I was even summoned in the first place.
Well, that day was yesterday and OMG I was!
But my joy soon turned into panic. Do you guys know me at all? I’m pretty much helpless. And now I’m expected to be turned loose into the real world, to ENTER A COURTHOUSE without setting off five alarms, to find a particular room without crying….
“What room is it?” Barb asked me and I told her it was 3-something. “OK, so take the elevator to the third floor—”
“BUT WHERE ARE THE ELEVATORS, OH MY GOD BARB?!”
There better be attendants at every corner, waiting to point me in the correct direction.
“Will I have to talk to people?” I asked.
“Maybe,” Barb said. “You might get asked questions.”
“IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?” I cried.
And then I found out that this doesn’t even mean I’ve been chosen? I have to sit there all day, in a room I may or may not find, waiting to see if they want me?
Talk about my life story.
Henry agreed to drive me down there tomorrow morning so I’ll have one less thing to worry about, like: WHEN SHOULD I GET OFF THE TROLLEY? AND THEN WHAT?! And then he tried to explain to me how to walk to work afterward. Seriously. I do not understand downtown Pittsburgh. There are roads and people and buildings; lots of them.
Today on the way to work, I pointed at every building we passed and asked, “Is that the courthouse? What about that one?”
“We’re not even on the right side of town,” Henry mumbled exasperatedly.
“You said you were going to show me!” I wailed, about to get hysterical. I have lots of…complexities, we’ll call them…when it comes to going somewhere alone for the first time. I like to over-think things until I’m sure that I’m going walk into a building for the first time and promptly fall into a hole to a land of Katy Perry-soundtracked church sermons and food overrun with crunchy onions because how would I know that it was there when I HAVE NEVER BEEN THERE BEFORE.
“I am going to show you,” Henry said. “Tomorrow morning when I drop you off in front of it.”
Then he tried to explain to me how to get to work once I’m released.
“This is too confusing,” I sighed as he was trying to point out landmarks. “It’s a good thing my phone has a compass.”
“Yeah but do you even know what direction to go to begin with?” After his question was met with silence, he said, “Didn’t think so.”
I was starting to feel OK about it at work as my co-worker Cheryl said, “Oh you’ll be fine! You mostly just sit around. And then you break for an hour and a half for lunch—”
An hour and a half? NINETY MINUTES?? What the fuck am I going to do for ninety minutes? Find a bathroom stall in which to tremble and cry?
Barb did her best to comfort me. “I’m trying to think if there is anywhere to eat inside the courthouse,” she mused, knowing full well that if I attempted to stray outside, I might never find my way back and wind up having to change my address to:
Some Guy’s Occupy Pittsburgh Tent Some Random St.
Pgh (I think), PA.
“If you need to, you can just call me. I’ll come find you,” she promised, and that made me feel like maybe I could survive this day.
“Just stand outside and shine a mirror into the sun; I’ll follow the light signal,” I said, trying to complicate this into some failed Choose Your Own Adventure book.
But then Wendy came over and said, “Fool, just walk outside the courthouse and look up. You can see our building, duh.”
Why does this have to be downtown? Why can’t it be on a farm that’s easy to find and full of boughs pregnant with apples. (My apple obsession is still going strong. More on that later.)
So that’s where I’ll be tomorrow if you need me, walking around in circles and looking up at the sky. I should probably take that bloody pie server thing out of my purse first, though.