Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Embarrassing Jury Duty Story

I have only ever been summoned for jury duty once while living in Pennsylvania. Everyone can now let out their collective groans and say "Ugh!" I know that’s just what I did. For years, I had avoided jury duty by not being in the right place at the right time. My number just didn’t “come up.” I was moving every other year from apartment to apartment in different neighborhoods in Philly. I moved from Society Hill to Graduate Hospital to Rittenhouse Square to Olde City to the Art Museum neighborhood. And I am  thankful that the wonderfully "slow on jury duty paperwork" City of Philadelphia just never pegged me down for the time honored tradition of jury duty.

It was June of 1998 when I moved out to Media, PA in Delware County and I loved it. I was living there happily for a couple years in suburban bliss when one day I received that letter marked JURY DUTY that everyone hates to get! I was to report to the court house in one month's time and take my medicine with the rest of tax paying society! And oh great, I was to be paid $10.00. Gee, I thought with obvious sarcasm, that will more than make up for the day of work lost!

The Spring day came for jury duty and I made my way down to the county court house early. I got a nice cup of coffee, brought a magazine, a book, and reported to a large beige sterile room for my civic duty. I was put in a room with about 40 other folks of varying shapes, sizes, ethnicities, financial means, and ages. The one thing we all had in common was that we didn’t want to be there and it showed on our faces. The jury duty courthouse representative started off our welcome by stating, “Now I you all don’t want to be here because it shows on your faces.” We all smiled and nodded. Yes Gladys, I thought, is it that obvious? After she ran through the “rules", we were left to wallow away the next 8 hours by watching bad daytime TV aka Jerry Springer, reading, or numerous trips to the bathroom thanks to a nasty coffee vending machine.

After a heavy lunch, I just couldn't bear any more coffee so I settled for a Diet Coke and the book I brought. It was just SO interesting, I can't even remember the name. Well I must have dozed off and was suddenly woken up by the prodding of the juror to my right. "Stop snoring!" he exclaimed. WELL EXCUSE ME! I CAN'T HELP THAT I HAVE ALLERGIES AND CAN'T BREATHE PROPERLY!  OK, I thought that in my head, but I DID stare down that 80 year old man.

I went back to my book and must have fallen asleep again. In my dream, I heard someone say "Marc Haynes" and then much louder "MARC HAYNES!" I immediately woke with a start. Stand up you idiot! I thought. Stand up before they think you split the joint! I sprung to attention like a pogo stick exclaiming, "HERE I AM!"

I then noticed that a large, rotund, bespeckled woman in her 60's wearing a garish tangerine polyester outfit, two seats up and over from me, was standing up as well. I looked over at her, thinking, Well what is SHE standing up for ... IDIOT!  She then glanced over to me with a look as if conveying the same thought, "What is he standing up for ... IDIOT!"  I turned to the woman running jury duty in the front of the room, and put my hands up in the air stating flatly, "I dunno why she is standing up."

The woman in the front looked down her nose and over her glasses at me, "MABLE GAINES ... are you MABLE GAINES ... SIR?"  I turned 3 shades of red with that hot flash of embarrassment creeping up from my toes over my entire body to the top of my head. "I thought you said Marc Haynes," I stuttered quietly. I then proceeded to explain this to the rest of the 40 potential jurors in the room. I turned to the bespeckled woman in the garish tangerine polyester outfit, "I thought she said Marc Haynes, it does sound similar!" She scoffed at me in contempt, turning her head away exclaiming, "Well I'm Mable Gaines!"  I turned to the people to my left whispering, "I thought she said Marc Haynes." I nervously laughed, "Heh heh heh." They turned away in social disgust except for one twenty-something punk laughing at me. I turned to my right! "I really thought they said Marc Haynes, anyone can make the same mistake! I was SLEEPING people!" Everywhere I looked, people turned away or laughed at me as the juror persona non grata! Except for a sharp prod from my right, "Sit the hell down you dang fool!" It was the 80 year old man. I slumped down into my cold hard plastic seat withering in embarrassment.

Thankfully, I was not picked for jury duty that day.

2 comments:

  1. Mitzi, or should I call you Mable.LOL! This was too funny. Love reading your blog.
    Davida

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  2. jury duty is such a drag.. i was sooo embarrressed when i first stepped my foot into the room. they had to check ur bags. metal detectors and all that shanagans. i was compltly lost and to top it off rude ass ppl ..

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