Adventure. Excitement. A juror craves not these things.
“I am free,” I said confidently one bright and sunny Friday night, dialing the phone number from memory. Fate stopped what she was doing and looked my way. I fell back into the couch, carelessly flung a foot onto the coffee table and put the phone to my ear. The eyes of Fate widened. I dangled the cheese of a self-satisfied grin in the face of Fate. My smugness was too much. Fate would soon pounce.
My service period as a petit juror was ending. For a full month, I had made anxious, weekly calls to the U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio for instructions. Each time, the interactive voice response system, a smiling robot lady, could have told me to report to the courthouse for jury duty the following week. Instead, she tenderly repeated:
You are currently (slight pause) not scheduled (another pause) to appear for jury duty at this time. Please check back next week.
I reveled in this message to the point of giddiness. Don’t misunderstand me, I recognized the importance of jury service to my community, nay, to democracy itself, at least in the beginning. I read the summons months earlier and felt my chest puff the patriot’s puff. Here stood a citizen ready to tether himself to the Constitution of the United States of America, willing and able to immerse himself in this pageant of our country’s core values: equality, deliberation and the administration of justice. The uncertainty and disruption of my life were but small prices to pay for such an honor.
I hate Facetime, but I’ve got an idea for making jury duty less painful. (Hint: it’s to use Facetime. I know, terrible idea.)
As I splayed across my couch in cocky repose, entering my participant number with my phone’s keypad, I was over all of that. The puff had worn off. Besides, I reasoned, they wouldn’t bring me in so late in the month. There couldn’t possibly be enough time left for a trial. I was free.