Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Loss of consortium

I had jury duty today and I learned a new legal term.

I managed to get myself to Woburn by 8 AM, which is when the postcard said. My on-time arrival was partly motivated by my intrinsic fear of authority but also due to my spending more than an hour the night before doing research online, printing directions, packing snacks and things to do, and laying out my outfit. Because I am a bit useless in the morning. I sometimes crash into things, actually. I have my life set up right now so I don't have to do anything of consequence before 10, and my alarm goes off before 7. This means my workday runs pretty late but I do SO MUCH BETTER outside the traditional 9 to 5 confines.

But I digress.

When I got to the assembly room I almost sat right in the front row so I could have an aisle seat and lots of legroom. But this wasn't an airplane ride and I'm young and sort of fit so I sat in the second row instead, next to a jacket and a bag.

Next to the jacket and bag was a WASPy-looking elderly gentleman in a nice grey sweater. He had the aisle seat. I got the sense he wasn't interested in mingling with the great unwashed. He didn't make a peep until a judge showed up to explain the importance of the judicial process (and shame a trashy lady for eating popcorn) and then he laughed and laughed at all of the judge's jokes.

Later my WASP-y rowmate revealed that beneath his sweater beat the heart of Joy Behar. We were among the first group to be called up to a courtroom, where I ended up sandwiched between him and another chatty cathy who'd started flapping her gums at me in line for the loo. I'm pretty sure we weren't supposed to make a peep unless spoken to but once we'd been waiting, I don't know, five minutes, Mr. Joy Behar started gossiping with the guy next to him.

I was practicing my breathing but then decided to practice my doing-the-Friday-NYTimes-crossword-puzzle-in-pen skills instead. Midway through 75-across, Joy elbowed me and pointed to the short bearded gentleman having a sidebar with the judge. "See that guy?" said Joy. "This guy next to me says that guy brought a knife with him in his bag. A knife! Imagine! How stupid can you be?"

"Oh goodness," I said. I've used this term before in the crazy un-yoga Israeli army/KGB/immortality fitness class I sometimes take on Thursdays and been laughed at. It was more appropriate here.

Soon it was my turn at the sidebar, and the fact that I'd sat on a jury that awarded no damages and found no liability at a civil case 10 years ago meant there was no way the plaintiff's attorney wanted me on this jury. So I got to go home. To celebrate, I worked out at the law school gym at the LNFU before heading to work.


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