Thursday, March 5, 2009


Chronicling day 2 of jury duty:

630 AM
Wake up early, even though we don't have to report to Centre St until 10 on our second day. Cranky and tired this morning--perfect day to send someone to the gallows, as far as I'm concerned. Hope I get a criminal case downtown today.


Take advantage of the late start with a morning workout at Wall Street Equinox. Gym windows look out over the entrance to the NY Stock Exchange, which is now a well barricaded fortress, with an enormous American flag that completely masks the columns in the building's Neoclassical facade. Ironic that capitalism itself is a bombed out broken idea at the moment, while this precious symbol of greed and excess is protected and enshrined as if it were the Wailing Wall.

Arrive right on time and place my juror ballot in the collection box at the front of the room, as instructed. More prospects in the pool than yesterday. Almost all seats taken.

Cute Guy is nowhere to be found. Maybe he's sequestered somewhere in the building.....I'll look around later. Stand in hall outside juror room awaiting orders.

First jury call of the morning. 'When I call your name, I wanna hear your Million Dollar Lottery voice.....'

Reprieve. Back to email.

The wheels of justice moving at glacial speed today. Very few jury calls so far.


Why is there no trial of the Countrywide Financial execs, who are now profiting from the restructuring of subprime mortgages that they fraudulently purveyed to unqualified homeowners. That's a jury I'd love to serve on. Can we revive burning at the stake?

Prospective jurors so quiet and well behaved here. Never seen a room full of New Yorkers so lulled into bored silence. Reminds me of the Tokyo metro during rush hour; Jase and I grinning at the eerie silence in a packed subway car.

Most important decision of the day looms large: where to have lunch. Will probably wander back up to Chinatown and see who-- I mean what--catches my eye.

This must be what retirement feels like, but without the golf and tennis and Cadillacs.

Decide to use the afternoon to prepare sample tables of contents for my new magazine: Asylum Living.

Step to back of room and snap two illicit photos of jury room and Corridor of the Damned (see above and right).  With cellphone, not camera, no, no, no.  These photos, however, are punishable by expulsion, so someone please please please call the NY State Court hotline and report me.

Another jury call. There is a pattern here in the just-before-lunch summonses. Caroline A, prospect #1, answered 'yes' with an enthusiasm that suggested she had just won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. Entire room chuckled.

The roster continues.....

Russell Goodguy
Carmen Order
Michael Casey
Robert.....(wince)....Fidler.... (whew).
...and so on...


Uh oh. Another jury call. Pace picking up here and that's worrisome. I'm hungry.

Reprieve.....but no lunch break yet....grrrr.

Staring at a well dressed plus-size woman in the row ahead of me, with jet black hair tied up in a tight bun. If you're going to wear that much makeup dear make sure you reach all the way around to the back of your neck. (Meow)

Another jury call. Omigod. Quick quick quick, no please no!

Reprieve :) Lunchtime!!

Lunch quest leads one block west to Lafayette, where I find Excellent Dumpling House--well named! Enjoy pork and soup filled dumplings that remind me exactly of the street food dumplings I loved in Shanghai last May. Yum.

Back to...well, you know....

As I climb the stairs to the dreaded Room 362 I am reminded of that famous observation about war: long periods of boredom interrupted by short periods of terror.

Dodge another bullet. Is this any way to run the Navy??

Out of boredom, decide to inventory items in my backpack today. Stopped in process by leaking doggie bag from Excellent Dumpling House stuffed in the backpack after lunch. Drat. Fake rabbit fur hat lightly stained with warm spicy Szechuan sauce. Slight elevation in heart rate accompanied by pupil dilation.

The selection process has begun. First- day jurors are sent home for the evening and the rest of us are sent down a corridor toward a large courtroom. Uh oh. Reminds me of a scene from a bad WWII movie.

Court officer arrives with stack of certificates, and I know we are to be liberated. Names called one by one. There are two others in the pool with my same last name. I step forward to pick up my certificate, but no Dean of Students is waiting to shake my hand this time around. I'm done for the day and free for the next five years.

So why not me this time? Huh!? Maybe the word got out after yesterday's ex camera conversation with the two attorneys. Or was it my fault when I entered the building this morning, arms raised above my head, bellowing 'Let the executions begin!'.


I don my Szechuan flavored rabbit hat and we all trudge out into the ebbing daylight. Life is beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. After reading 2 days of jury duty I am feeling a little better about 5 months in Kathmandu....but you can still have the burning trash! If you do come bring your mask, and that's not a joke, and some visine.