Last week, writer and blogger Cinthia Ritchie was called in for jury duty and tweeted about it. I was reminded of what happened to me the last time I was called in for jury duty.
Before I tell you let me say that my favorite grandmother was ALWAYS put on juries. Murders, robberies, everything. She was exactly what they wanted for every case she was ever called in for. Sweet lady who got along everyone. Educated, but not “overly” so. A “housewife” who went back to work when her grandchildren were growing up.
I sort of wanted to be like her because I thought that court cases would be good fodder for writing.
But I was always in a teaching quarter/semester when I was called, so I always had to ask for an extension.
Then one day I was able to go. And you know what we did? Sat in a big group under fluorescents (you know I can’t handle those because they are a trigger for my complicated migraines, right?) and waited
In addition to the complicated migraines, I also have primary lymphedema. Lymphedema is an everyday thing. And it is extremely exacerbated by sitting or standing still for long periods of time. I can practically watch my feet and legs swell up if I am too still (without lying down).
If you want to know more about lymphedema, here is a great blog (The Lymphie Life), written by a good writer who suffers from lymphedema.
Around 2:30 they finally corraled us all before the judge. There were at least 100 people in the room. One by one, we had to go around and tell the judge if there was some reason we could not be on the jury. By that time I could see that I wouldn’t be able to sit still for a trial. What if it went on for a full day? Or two days? Or a week or more? I would need a hospital, and they would need an alternate.
As I waited my turn, I heard all manner of excuses, mainly dealing with work and/or children. I was embarrassed for everyone having to talk about their personal lives in front of all these strangers. When people were done with their excuses, the judge explained that he would keep their difficulties in mind but that they might end up having to serve.
When it was my turn, I stood up and pretended nobody was in the room–or I would have been too scared to say anything. Then I described lymphedema, and why I couldn’t sit still long enough to be on a jury. Keep in mind that I would have loved to be on the jury.
The gray-haired judge looked at me over his glasses and nodded. “OK, you are excused from serving jury duty. You may leave.”
I turned to go, and the entire room erupted in applause. The man next to me slapped my arm and said, “Good one!” A woman raised her voice. “That’s the best excuse I’ve ever heard to avoid jury duty.”
Before the door shut behind me, I heard the judge admonishing everyone to settle down and be quiet.
I’m filing that story in the “life is unplanned” section.
PERRY SAYS HI!!!!