Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jury Duty/No Luck of the Irish

Jury Duty/No Luck of the Irish


Imari Jade

Today I had to do my civic duty and report to jury duty. I had to get up at the same time, catch the same bus I normally catch each morning (those of you who are not from down South, don’t ask me how I can catch a bus. It’s something like making groceries), but instead of crossing the Mississippi River I got to stay on my side of the river and travel to the Gretna Terminal to catch my second bus to take me to the Gretna Courthouse. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

I want to reiterate that if I am diagnosed with Alzheimer when I get older, remember it started somewhere around this time.

I contemplated not taking my high blood pressure medicine because I didn’t want to spend the day in the restroom, but I woke up with a headache so I had to nix that idea. It was in the high 50s when I walked out of my front door, and dark. The dark part made me very nervous because I couldn’t bring my usual protection with me because I had to pass through a metal detector when I got to court and I didn’t want to have to explain to several big men in uniform, with badges and guns why I had it. (For those of you who don’t know, I don’t look good in prison orange, or Saint Patrick’s Day, green).

I only had to wait a few minutes for the first bus. That wasn’t so bad. I got off at the Gretna Terminal and sat down on one of those cold cement benches and froze my tail off waiting for the bus that was scheduled to arrive in seventeen minutes. The first bus pulled up, but it wasn’t going toward the ferry. The second bus pulled up, it was going to the ferry, but not the Gretna Ferry. “There hasn’t been a bus going back that way since Hurricane Katrina,” a bus driver told me. He also told talk to one of the Jefferson Parish drivers.”

So I walked to the other side of the terminal and the first Jefferson Parish driver I saw was the one I normally catch in the evening. First, he asked me, “What is your name?” Stop laughing Tracee. No, he wasn’t asking just to be nosey. I seem to be drawing the attention of a lot of bus drivers lately. “You ride this bus everyday and I don’t know your name.” (Apparently, everyone who grew up on this side of the river knows each other. I didn’t grow up on this side, I grew up on the New Orleans side, so of course, he doesn’t know my name even though I’ve been riding that bus for over twenty years. So now he knows it. He told me I had to get back on the Westbank Expressway bus and get off on Derbigny and then walk to the courthouse. So I walked back to the Westbank Expressway bus stop and waited ten minutes for the bus, which is the same bus and the same driver I got off earlier this morning. She had done a complete trip across the river and came back. “Maybe I should have asked you if there was a Gretna Local bus earlier,” I said to her. She nodded. “Let me know when I get to Derbigny,” I told her. About a block before Derbigny another lady boarded the bus and she and the driver got into an argument. (We’re talking about 8 am in the morning here). Luckily I was looking for the street because she passed it up without stopping. I rang the buzzer and walked back a block. Then I walked ten blocks to the courthouse, through a neighborhood I didn’t know, but luckily I was wearing my Dr. Scholl’s walking shoes, had my MP3 player playing, and I probably could have outrun anything that got behind me. I reached the courthouse in about ten minutes, signed in and went straight to the bathroom because my high blood pressure medicine had kicked in. Then I entered the jury room.

You can grow gray quickly waiting for something to happen in that place. I didn’t eat before I left home so my stomach was making that empty wild animal sound, so I had to drink a cup of their free coffee and spend sixty cents for a pack of Lance Vanilla Cookies. I’m surprise this didn’t kill my stomach. A clerk came out and gave us instructions. We had to watch a video and then the wait began. There were only four cases on the docket today. Good, I thought. Maybe this won’t take all day. I don’t mind doing my civic duty, but I hate sitting there all day and then at four o’clock they tell me to go home. I brought along two steno tablets and two ink pens but I left my E-reader at home because I was afraid that it would be de-programmed when it went through the x-ray machine. (I should have bought it). But my plans were to write two scenes for “Cherish,” that had been sent back to me for edits and continue writing on the current WIP (work in progress).

The television set was on Channel Four and after the Price is Right went off an NCAA Basketball game came on. Have I told you guys that I hate sports? Well, I do. So I pulled out one of the steno notebooks and re-wrote the two scenes for “Cherish,” began this blog, and then started working on my current WIP that I have steadily been working on for the last two weeks. It’s due to the publisher in two weeks. I’ve been writing on the bus in the morning and on the way home in the evening, on lunch and both my breaks because I’ve been editing “Cherish” at night when I get home. (Yes, a writer’s work is never done, not even when we sleep. I’ve dreamed some of my best premises while slumbering.)

I started getting sleepy and it was freezing in the room, so I put up my writing, signed out and went outside. Another cup of coffee was not an option, because I ran into the restroom again before I stepped outside.

Two trials had been settled without needing a jury so they sent us to lunch until 1:15. I wasn’t in the mood for walking to a restaurant after that long walk this morning, so I stopped at the snack bar and purchased a chicken salad sandwich on wheat bread, a bag of plain Lays Potato Chips (which I know I should not have) and a Pepsi. So no doubt I will be expecting that headache to return because of the salt in the chips. The soft drink was also a no-no since I had been living in the restroom, but I figured the bottle Pepsi was better than the watered down soda from the fountain.

I was trying to wait around to hear the President’s announcement about the radiation crisis in Japan but it was too cold in the snack bar too so I went outside in the warm courtyard. This is the second good thing about jury duty in Gretna; you don’t have to sit in the jury room for the duration of the wait. I would have sat out there all day if I could have. They should put a little speaker outside and call us when they need us. The courtyard is really quite nice with little silver tables and chairs, small sapling trees and a mixture of shade and sun. During this time, I wrote, checked my email on my cell phone and listened to my MP3 player. I went back into the building at 1:05 (after I went to the restroom again) and then back into the jury room. I wished I would have heard the President’s announcement because I can’t watch the news or read the newspaper for the next couple of days. (Explanation below)

At 1:30 the door opened and the bailiff entered and the clerk announced that they needed a jury. They called twenty-four names and mine was not one of them. Those twenty-four people followed the bailiff out of the jury room and I went back to writing, figuring I would be going home soon if they didn’t need any more jurors. This is how things have normally worked since I’ve been doing jury duty in Jefferson Parish.

The door opened again at 2:15 and all of the remaining people in the jury waiting room looked up in shock when another bailiff walked in and said he needed a jury. I guess I wasn’t the only one expecting to go home since we’d been sitting there all day. And wouldn’t you know it my name is the first one they call.

To make a long story short I have to go back tomorrow morning with the possibility of serving on a trial that could have me sequestered for two weeks or more. I don’t know what kind of trial it is and they didn’t tell us. After filling out a very long form, and receiving my new subpoena, they sent me home. I went to the restroom again, and left the building and walked the ten blocks to the bus stop. I called my job as soon as I got to the bus stop and told them that I wouldn’t be in tomorrow. It was so hot outside I thought I was going to faint, but the bus arrived about ten minutes later and I finally made it home around five. I called my mother to tell her that she might not hear from me in a while, explained why and told her I’d call her when they let me use my phone again.

Funny story – We were asked to turn off our cell phones before we entered the court room and I didn’t know how to turn off my phone. Do not laugh Tracee. Everyone knows I hate my cell phone because all I can do is the basics and go to Yahoo for my email. The bailiff had to turn the phone off for me. (Yes, I know now it’s the red button). And it’s not that I’m stupid, I just haven’t had time to read the instructions (they are too small any way) and I haven’t had time to go to the Internet for bigger instructions. Hell, I have mail falling off the dresser because I haven’t had time to read it.

2nd Funny story – The other day I told you that my brother called me and asked me to call AT&T to get them to send someone out to their house to fix their wires because they are having bad connection problems. My guess is that they need new phones, but anyway, I didn’t have time to call yesterday or today, so when I talked to my mother earlier I told her that she needed to call. She politely told me that she wasn’t going to do it and she was going to wait until she talked to me again (which I interpreted that she is going to wait however long until I am off of jury duty so I can put in the service call from them. There are three adults in that house so if they can’t transact their own business they can just do without a phone.)

3rd Funny story – My granddaughter Autumn came here after nursery school this evening and wanted to eat. First she wanted yogurt, so her father gave her a cup of yogurt (which she didn’t eat). Then she noticed that I had grilled chicken on the counter and was cooking. I offered her the grill chicken, which she didn’t want. She wanted some of what I was cooking. I told her that it wasn’t ready because I had just turned it on. (1) A three-year old doesn’t understand that food has to cook, (2) A three-year old who likes Italian food knows by smell what Maw Maw is cooking when she smells tomato sauce she does not want Spagettio’s out of a can (well she does sometimes), (3) A three-year old will throw a temper tantrum when she doesn’t get what she wants, and (4) a smart daddy takes her home before Maw Maw puts her out in the backyard (smile).

4th Funny story – My room had an awful smell when I opened the door this evening. I had turned the air conditioning off this morning because I was cold and Brandon never turned it back on so it probably had a stuffing smell. I didn’t know what it was so I decided to mop the house. While doing so my legs and back started to hurt and then I hit my left knee with the mop handle and saw stars. So after mopping myself into the kitchen I walked over to the table while the floor dried and turned on my computer. I tried to prop my leg up in the chair and I not only got a pain in the knee but I also got a Charlie horse in my foot. Walking twenty something blocks today wore my butt out.

5th Funny story – Did I mention I saw Stinky Cutie on the bus yesterday? I can’t remember if I posted a blog or not. I missed my second bus home yesterday because I couldn’t cross the street to get to it because of traffic, and the 5:00 bus driver didn’t see me so he pulled off, which meant I had to wait for the last bus going across the river. While waiting one of my princesses (blond-haired guy I’m using as a reference for a yaoi story I’m working on) walked up to the bus stop but boarded the Lapalco Bus instead of the Westbank Expressway. I thought this odd because he always catches the same bus as me but I figured he had a stop to make before he went home. I didn’t see his younger, blond partner (also used as a character reference in my yaoi manuscript). The Westbank Expressway bus arrived a few minutes later, and I boarded, pulled out my MP3 player and my eBook reader and began reading, of all things…Dracula.

The bus stopped on Poydras, and something told me to look up. Stinky Cutie boarded the bus and I started to smile. To refresh your memory, Stinky Cutie is this guy who got on the bus with me one morning about a month ago. What caught my fascination is that the guy appeared to be Korean (which if you don’t know is my soup of the day), had thick neck-length straight black hair, but he was thinner than I liked a love interest to be. He was dressed in jeans and a shirt like he worked in constructions and he sat down next to me. The problem is he stank (be it from not taking a bath or sweating from the construction work, but it nearly knocked me out.) You have to read back in my blogs to find the entire story) Needless to say I didn’t smell him yesterday. Either he took a bath or he passed by me too quickly. Of course I couldn’t concentrate on Dracula knowing he was seated somewhere behind me, and the cougar in me still insisted that I take an interest in him. I think the cougar has this thing for his hair and will probably end up doing something stupid that she will regret the rest of her life just because the guy hair turns her on. Anyway we crossed the bridge and made it to the first terminal and the blond who got on the Lapalco Bus was waiting at the terminal and got on the bus. I don’t know if he just didn’t realize that he was on the wrong bus but it didn’t matter because seeing both of them made my day.

The only thing that made my day today was that there was a new picture on Junsu, Jaejoong and Yoochun on Twitter. (Yes, JYJ still rocks my world). Come on Yoochun, I’m getting desperate any time I’m looking at Stinky Cutie. Yoochun is still husband material for me.

I finally received my TVXQ CD from Korea today, but it wouldn’t rip to my MP3 player. This is the second CD I brought that wouldn’t do it. I paid a fortune for that thing and it took almost two months to arrive because it’s so popular and it sold out on the pre-order, and I can’t carry a CD player around with me. I use my MP3 player not only to listen to but to write by. And UPS also left me a note that I had to send someone to pick up a package tomorrow. The only thing I ordered was a Korean drama (You’re Beautiful). Why someone has to sign for it is beyond me, but Adrian better not lose the receipt and go pick it up tomorrow when he drops the kids off at the nursery because I’m planning to that that DVD with me to Alexandria next month.

So you might not hear from me for a couple of days if they don’t eliminate me tomorrow as a juror. Out of the forty of us, I think they only need twelve. (Like the title of this blog today states, I don’t have the luck of the Irish).

Imari Jade

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