Yesterday was the first of my two-day jury service, the responsibility side of Rights & Responsibilities.
Sunday night I packed my bag to ensure a day full of intellectual stimulation: 2 books, my computer and my knitting. Yes, one can bring knitting into the court once more, as long as it is on fixed, circular needles. I saved a project just for this occasion, since I couldn’t bring one of the sock or glove projects I really wanted to work on. But here is my beef: if I were a trained killer, instead of a professional educator, I could use any pointy thing to do damage. Why are knitting needles so discriminated against, since pens and pencils could just as easily be used for no good? As a knitter, I feel this is a great injustice.
When I went to bed Sunday night, I set my alarm for the first time since I left for Canada. It seemed to go off awfully early yesterday, but I answered the call and went through the regular morning routine of a school day.
Because the Multnomah County courthouse is downtown, I decided to take the bus. Parking is expensive and the County will reimburse a juror the bus fare, but not pay for parking. That adds an extra $5 to the daily juror compensation of $10/day. Had I served during the school year, I would have had to turn over the money, minus my bus fare, to my employer. Because it is summer I get to keep all of it! Woohoo!
Boarding the bus in my neighborhood was banal, but once we arrived downtown, things got more interesting. The first curious person I saw was a man, in a black suit, wearing a bowler. Seriously. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone in a bowler outside of a movie. And yet , there he was walking down the street like it was London 1916, not Portland 2016.
Just behind him, a man in blue pants sported a Captain America t-shirt in the same color as his pants. Did he fancy himself Captain America? One never knows in downtown Portland.
After clearing the courthouse security, I made my way to the jury room. I found a good seat, on a sofa, with a coffee table for convenience. Once settled, I sat back to watch the other potential jurors flow in. There was a woman who looked like a thinner, shorter Brienne of Tarth! Fortunately, she left her sword at home per instructions.
Before too long, a judge came in to talk to us. Then, we watched a movie about jury service. And then the waiting began. I read.I knit. I listened to my audiobook while I knit. I watched Tiny House on the TV mounted on the wall. They came in twice to call people to courtrooms, but I wasn’t one of them. We got two breaks.
At 11:30, they announced that they would keep 10 people and send the rest of us home. My name wasn’t called again. A young man sitting near me was one of the 10 and he looked sad. I wanted to say to say “See you tomorrow” to him as the rest if us filed past him.