Sandra Tsing Loh finds happiness at jury duty.
I had JURY duty the other week, but I wasn’t DISPLEASED. I’ve COME to believe that the statement “I’m on jury duty” is like this magic AMULET that PROTECTS you, at least TEMPORARILY, against anything ELSE you might possibly NOT want to do during the week—go to work, drive the children, endure ennervating SOCIAL obligations—
Have you tried that? Said “No, I can’t commit to DINNER on Friday, because I might have JURY duty downtown, criminal case, might go long?” Which is a stretch, but--?
Anyway, BEAUTY is, even though technically jury duty week starts on Monday, no one EVER gets called until Thursday--
So imagine my disbelief when the automated female VOICE flatly announced that I was INDEED expected on Monday, downtown, at 7:45 a.m.! Fair enough, I show UP at the Clara Foltz Criminal Justice Center, check in, take my SEAT amongst the EQUALLY gray-faced early morning rabble.
A frequent VISITOR to Southwest Airlines, traffic school AND the LA court system, I’ve come to expect a FAIRLY high level of stand up, and I was not disappointed. The OPENER was an affable older JUDGE who informed us of our rights, then manfully FIELDED the repeated questions of a large older lady in what appeared to be a mumu and tin foil curlers saying, “What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if I have to go to the bathroom, raise my hand, and the judge doesn’t SEE me? Or what if I ask and he doesn’t HEAR me? What if I have to go to the bathroom?
NOW cue a young African-American bailiff type guy named I think Jonathan, who told us TIRED huddled masses: “First day of jury duty is free, after that you get paid fifteen dollars a day, people, fifteen dollars a day--that’s good money!” Surprised and disbelieving titters. Next: “Here’s what we know about the Disney Hall parking lot, people, it’s free! It’s free AND IT’S FAR.” Guffaws ensue, then finally: “People? Two potential jurors MET in this room and a year later they were MARRIED. So look around, people, look around! As ways of breaking the ice, here are two suggested questions: ARE you a potential JUROR? By what method of transport did you arrive today?”
I believe this is BRILLIANT material, and I was even MORE amazed when it appeared completely ALLOWABLE for one to whip out one’s IPHONE and play Angry Birds! What? Angry birds meets jury duty? Match made in heaven! Think Twelve Angry Birds!
Six contented hours—and 1000 Angry Birds--later, I rode the Metro GOLD line HOME in the beautiful LA sunset. Sure I was dismissed the next day and the pigs won, but isn’t it like that ALWAYS? And don’t call me because OFFICIALLY I’m still tied up with jury duty--‘til next week.