Friday, May 28, 2010

The Gospel According To Juror #612

Jury duty was another reminder to take care of myself. The case centered on a 69-year-old man who, in the words of the defense, had a complicated medical history, smoked more than a pack of cigarettes a day in addition to being a frequent consumer of beer. His last stint in the hospital was for femoral bypass surgery. He had several diagnoses including, peripheral vascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had previously undergone surgery for carotid stenosis.

I spent seven days with people who, before that point, had been total strangers. If I had to be on jury duty, this crew was the one to endure civic duty.

I leave you with some words from the woman who sat next to me in "the box:"

  • I zoom past the produce, Juror #612 informed us as we talked about blueberries and mangoes.

  • She has four or five cans of sweetened condensed milk on standby.

  • Kids make own grocery list and will not be allowed to consume anything purchased that did not appear on said list, including lemon meringue pie made from items on mama's list.

  • Dislikes even one brown spot on bananas and is not crazy about soft apples either.

  • Strawberries are the bomb as long as they're at room temperature.

  • Lunchbox: Spiderman (only one available at the time)

  • Inside of lunch box: small bottle of Tabasco Sauce along with fried chicken et al.

  • Comment of the week: "You apple eaters are getting on my nerves," Juror #612 said as she took care of her Papa John's slice.

  • I don't do alone -- thoughts on Division 12's solitary cell that we walked past on the way down to the courtroom.

  • I'm going to the zoo this weekend just to get a funnel cake; that's it. Going to the zoo and not getting a funnel cake is like going to Six Flags and not getting a turkey leg. It would be like going to Louisiana and not getting crawfish.

  • Just like milk, we all have an expiration date.

  • After we were dismissed from the trial, there was a brief break in the rain as we walked to the parking garage. I told juror #612 that, if it started raining again, we could make a run for it to which she responded, "Now we sat up there and watched you eat Greek yogurt; I'm not running. I don't even run to the bathroom when I have to use it badly."

    Another juror, #635, told me that if anyone dies of soda consumption, she might just be the one and she would, happily, go gentle into that good night if soda is the cause...

    During our last meal together, I asked Juror #635 if she were an abuser since she told me that her husband had scrambled to cut the grass the previous day when she arrived home early. He thought she was angry because she didn't kiss him before she left. Only, she was running late and, therefore, no time for a parting kiss.

    I had my suspicions that #635 might be a nipple-twister à la Carrie in The King of Queens (03:25) but, really, the cross-examining had just gotten to me at this point and I was starting to suspect people of all manner of crimes and I had so many objections that it wasn't even funny.

    Farewell fellow jurors and goodbye Citygarden...


    1. What an odd bunch, yet not really. :)

    2. Wow! I've noticed that too, that people sometimes take one's lifestyle as a personal affront. I suppose they feel guilty.

      I'm not judgmental about what other people eat: I assume they are adults and can make their own choices, so it's a bit annoying when they don't extend the same courtesy to me. When we go out to the wings 'n beer restaurant with our crowd of friends, they frequently tease me about getting the salad, and sometimes are "sorry" for me because I'm eating like that. I've mentioned that I LIKE salad, I'm eating it because I WANT to, but that's foreign to them, they "hate" vegetables. To me that big salad with grilled chicken is the high point of the week!

      His whole family is like that, they eat meat and various forms of potatoes, drink a fair amount, and smoke heavily. They are all normal weight, and I think sometimes that's the only factor people think matters. If you're not fat, you're healthy.

      I like fried funnel cake as well as the next person, it's just that I try to reserve things like that for "sometimes" food, not daily fare.

      Your jury stories have been very interesting. A guy I work with just finished jury duty with a capital murder case, a couple months long, and it really put him through the wringer.

    3. @midlife_swimmer,

      Yup. I know that I have been accused of marching to the beat of my own drummer. ;)


      It's so funny when I carry food around. My folks used to ask me about the contents of my bag as if I had some really wild food in there. Now, I've been doing it so long that it's not strange to them.

      During our final luncheon, the judge got us lunch from Imo's Pizza. I didn't eat pizza and I didn't get soda or tea so I knew that I was going to stand out which was okay. Like you, I'll treat myself but I definitely don't want to make certain foods an everyday thing and, with the pizza, I can make one that's quite delicious with fewer calories.

      I'm so glad that this case was not a criminal one because I've been there and done that and I don't want to go down that road again...

    4. Isn't it interesting how much we learn from people by observing their reactions to our healthy choices? I've seen the same thing in my life - among friends and strangers.

    5. Diane,

      I try to take the same approach as @gingersnapper and assume that adults are capable of making their own choices and love it when people extend the same courtesy to me. It can definitely be awkward when the courtesy is not reciprocal...