All my life I had to fight…to get jury duty.
Ever since I declared Silence of the Lambs as my favorite movie of all time, I’ve been enamored with the concept of crime. I was always curious as to how the criminal mind worked, how the legal system combatted the devious acts of the world, and how I could still make my way into the F.B.I. Law and Order SVU is one of my favorite shows of all time, turning me into an automatic expert on crime. However, what really took my breath away was how easily I could inject myself into the legal world: being on a jury.
When I watched the 2003 Oscar-snubbed Runaway Jury, I got a glimpse into the world I longed to be a part of. Good ‘ol American citizens, being a vital part of justice – I wanted to do that! I was fascinated that I could be an integral part of making things right for the wronged, would get paid $15 a day, and get free sandwiches. I would appropriately rise to the position of jury foreman on a nationally televised trial, where someone was kidnapped or had their junk cut off. I would maintain a stoic presence, a never-ending swoop bang, and continued eye-contact with the tv camera. I’d even find a button-up shirt that fit my boobs, so when I stood up to say “We’ve reached a verdict your honor”, no one would be thinking “damn, she couldn’t find a shirt that fits?!” I would enjoy overnight fame, doing interviews on CNN with Anderson Cooper, commenting on how this was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.” And if I was lucky, I’d become famous enough to be on Celebrity Big Brother or Dancing with the Stars.
But I was never called. My homegirl was called twice in the time I’ve known her, and yet I was never on the receiving end of the red and white summons. She thought it may have been due to the high demand of Caucasian infusion into Miami juries, but she was trying to make me feel better. I mean, I didn’t find out I was 52% white yet, so how was Miami-Dade County supposed to know? My friend even was on a jury for a short time and I was dripping with disdain and jealousy. She didn’t have to go to work, got to sit in a courtroom without being a defendant, and parked for free at a government building – that bitch was living my ultimate life. I finally decided that it would never happen for me, and that I would have to continue dishing out couch-justice at home, constantly complaining that Law & Order no longer featured murders.
THEN IT HAPPENED. About a month ago, my roomie came into the house and threw the mail on the counter. I see a glimpse of that scary-ass Courier font that could only mean one thing: I got a ticket. Where was I? Was it when I went on that date in Wynwood? Wait, I wasn’t even driving. Can I get a ticket for driving someone else’s car? As I look closer, I see the word “JURY”, and I think I blacked out for a moment, because I just remember screaming with joy and yelling “I feel like a white woman!”.
I couldn’t wait to get to work and ask for the time off. I told everybody who would listen that I had jury duty, and they all gave me the same weird look. Everyone kept asking why I was so excited. Um, why wouldn’t you be?! One Debbie Downer tried to derail my elation when she said I shouldn’t be excited because her friend was sequestered on a jury once, and became depressed and suicidal after being stuck in a motel. Karen, why are you such a hater? This is also the same being from the “This is Us” post from last year, so that should tell you something. I blocked out all the negativity, and eagerly awaited my January 2nd report date. When the day came, I wore my new Armani glasses, accompanied by a matching dress and heels. I carried my smartest purse and brought a pen that didn’t bleed so I could look cool in the courtroom taking notes. I parked in my FREE jury lot, scurried into the downtown courtroom, and headed up to the jury room.
The disappointment that seeped into my soul after I entered that room cannot be described properly, as it went downhill from the moment I sat in the plastic chair that kept sticking to my ass. Here’s a rundown of some “highlights”:
- They didn’t give me a clipboard to fill out my jury questionnaire on – what am I, an animal?
- There was no screening of jurors who could not read, as there were several people who could not comprehend the “no phones” sign, and proceeded to blast the sound on their iPad, as well as have a full-blown conversation about how they hated jury duty.
- Like a prisoner of war, I was then required to watch a 1980s video on Miami-Dade County jury duty. It explicitly said we could not leave the room until we were told, and then they played My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
- The cafeteria was not up to date on television shows, as I had no choice but to watch “Minute to Win It” while eating a soggy chicken wrap
- After lunch, the torture continued as another rom-com starring Diane Keaton started playing, where she again acts completely surprised that she’s a lovable person
Around the time Diane was finally picking up the vibes Michael Douglas was throwing down, a staffer walks up to the podium and tells us that we’re dismissed and they don’t need anyone. THE JUSTICE SYSTEM DOESN’T NEED ME? I felt hurt, defeated, and unappreciated. What now? Now I’ll never know the feeling of being part of a case that has “taken the nation by storm”. I’ll never know what it’s like to be holed up in a Motel 6, where the cute guy who has looked at all the evidence now has a change of heart because he’s in love with me. I slowly sauntered out of the courtroom, got into my car, angrily pondering what life really means.
But the sun came out that day, and I was able to go to the pool, so I was good.
-KEEPING IT A HOT MESS