Sandra Tsing Loh on doing her civic duty.
Jury duty used to be a pain in the butt, but that was the OLD jury duty. Or maybe that was the old ME-or paradoxically, perhaps, the YOUNGER me! 25 years ago, jury duty USED to be this ANNOYING civic duty that pulled one away from one's real LIFE-- And what WAS that life, in my youth? There was English GRADUATE school, modern dance class in the morning, afternoon poetry readings, a few beers in the evening.
By contrast, in middle AGE, my WEEK unfolds OUTWARD into endless Escher-like LADDERS of DUTIES-primarily consisting of driving children, a CHAUFFEURING service that on certain DAYS with certain COMBINATIONS of school and activities can go from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Then there are the COSTCO runs to pick up CRANBERRY pills for my aging father, or the need to show up at yet another parent PROTEST at an LAUSD BOARD meeting because arts FUNDING is being CUT for the hundredth time--
Which is to say I'm not missing out on any SPA treatments or LUNCHTIME doubles TENNIS matches here. Under COVER of jury duty-"I'm sorry, that week I have JURY duty"? Well, it's the only time a person can slip AWAY from the chore wheel of LIFE, totally protected-- It's the only TIME aside from getting CHEMO-"I'm sorry, that week I have chemo," where one's taskmasters FINALLY back off --
But why do we HAVE to wait until THEN? In dog-eat-dog AMERICA, a land where, cruelly, there IS no national daily SIESTA, what does it TAKE to get a frickin' BREAK? Even ELEVATORS used to run cheesy MUSIC, but now they run refreshed-every-three MINUTES red DIGITAL CNN UPDATES-WHY?
Anyway-- UNTIL there is a SEA change-- In MY life anyway, JURY duty is the only mid-year OPPORTUNITY to OPEN a BEACH bag and THROW in some BOOKS, or a KINDLE, or maybe the WHOLE Sunday New York TIMES you didn't QUITE get through because on the WEEKEND you had to repair the garbage disposal. Indeed, packing my beach bag in anticipation of JURY duty the other week-- And yes I briefly THOUGHT about packing a small TWIST bottle of chardonnay, because here's the beauty, you can take the METRO downtown!
Anyway-- While packing my jury duty bag, I NOTICED this recent New York Times Sunday Magazine COVER story, "The Hyperaddictive, Time-Sucking, Relationship-Busting, Mind-Crushing Power and Allure of Silly Digital Games," which I WOULD have read, but it LOOKED long and to be HONEST-here's the joke I guess--I USED those 20 minutes INSTEAD to finish the LEVEL I was doing on Angry Birds.
But now on, with the gift of jury duty, I will use my time wisely. Ish. Won't I? Stay tuned...