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eggs and their shells

maura @ 10:14 pm

So I had jury duty today. It’s been a long time — nowadays you only get called for service every 8 yrs and I could swear I had jury duty after I’d already started at City Tech, but that was only 6 yrs ago so maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I was still in library school.

(Woah, checked my files and it was actually 2005! Time, flying, etc.)

A million years ago when we moved to NYC the jury duty thing was different. I got called probably in my 2nd or 3rd yr of anthropology grad school, pretty much as soon as I changed my drivers license from DE to NY. There was no limit to the deferrals then so I think I deferred something like 5 times — they kept calling me around finals week and I always had exams to proctor and grade. The director of grad studies in my dept wrote me a letter every semester to get out of it. Then I took some time off and was called right away, but I didn’t get picked for a jury.

I didn’t get called in Brooklyn until after Gus was born, and Jonathan and I had this incredibly complicated work + childcare setup that kept us both out of jury duty for a while (though required us to bring Gus and/or his birth certificate to the courthouse repeatedly). When I did finally do jury duty in Brooklyn I got to the questioning stage, which was new for me, though I was released before being assigned. They only keep you for a couple of days before they let you go if you haven’t been assigned, which is decent.

Now they automatically let you postpone once, which I did when I was called to report in last December, not the least hectic time of the year. I picked today, May 22, figuring that it’s the end of finals and that things would be slowing down, regularly scheduled commitments ending, and that it wouldn’t be the worst time in the world to be on a jury. Which is sort of true, though of course other things have come up in the interim. Our Chief Librarian is retiring in a few weeks and his retirement party is today (which I may miss the very beginning of). We’re hiring for a couple of positions and I’m on the search committees. By next Friday I’ve got to grade students’ final projects for the grad course I co-taught this semester, and prep a conference presentation for that date. And the usual end of semester meetings which result in end of semester meeting minutes to be written up and distributed.

So far it’s not so awful. The waiting rooms have somewhat decent wifi. The one I’ve been hanging out in has windows that overlook the street which is reasonably pleasant, though it’s kind of weird to be able to see my workplace from here (City Tech is just up the block from the courthouse). Since switching to a mostly-standing desk I’ve become mostly bad at sitting, which is a little weird in a waiting room situation, but I was able to find a table near an outlet in a corner to hang out in. I feel like people are looking at me a bit funny for standing, but what can you do. I’m caught up on twitter (a rarity for me these days) and catching up on other reading. I’m writing this blag.

On the downside, lunch was a bit late at 1pm. And, you know, it’s a waiting room. Sometimes the anthropologist in me enjoys looking around at what people are doing and eavesdropping on the conversations strangers are having, and sometimes I just want that young guy with the PSP to turn down the volume of his game so I can concentrate on what I’m reading. It’s sleepy, even after my afternoon thermos of coffee. But in some ways that’s nice, too — I don’t typically have much time to zone out and daydream, and the older I get the more I enjoy those opportunities when they present themselves.

Postscript: There was a big lot of no announcements at all when we got back from lunch, then bam, at 3:50pm they announced that everyone left in the room would get to leave, service completed. Woot! Later on someone noted that they probably didn’t have many cases just before Memorial Day weekend, which wasn’t what I’d planned for at all but seems like useful info to remember for next time. And *then* the officer who dismissed us pronounced both my first AND last name correctly which practically never happens. See you in 8 yrs, Supreme Court of Kings County!

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