The trial started immediately the next day. I thought it wouldn’t be like in the movies, but in fact it was *exactly* like in the movies. There was a time on the first day when three lawyers simultaneously shouted “objection!” all at the same time. I was like, “That just happened! That was awesome!” We even got an “asked and answered”.
The trial was fascinating, but exhausting. Aside from the emotional testimony, I think it just took so much concentration, with very few breaks, paying attention to every nuance and every piece of complicated medical testimony. Every night I would just be absolutely exhausted, to where I couldn’t even think straight. Other jury members confirmed the same. And then of course, there was the additional stress of getting the kids where they needed to be, finding parking downtown, etc. to say nothing of trying to keep up with work in the evenings, or the usual things like dishes and laundry. I didn’t expect jury duty to be so physically demanding, and harder than work. I felt particularly heroic the day I got Ollie to daycare, the carpool to school, and pulled into the parking garage 1 minute before I was too late for the “early bird special” rate.
Then there was Evie’s surgery.
The court did not see fit to give me the day off, but granted me permission to keep my phone on me in case there was an emergency. How kind. Luckily, Evie’s surgery was scheduled for 2 o’clock, so I made an appeal (which was granted) to be let out early in time for me to make it to the hospital by the time she woke up. The morning of, the doctor called and said the surgery had been moved up to 9:30 a.m.. When we told them we couldn’t do 9:30, they basically said, “too bad, so sad, nanny nanny boo boo.” Between the court and the hospital, I guess what worked for us was pretty much irrelevant.
I took my phone into court on silent mode, and I received a text around the time that Evie should have been coming out of surgery. I assumed that was just Sara confirming everything was okay. However, I quickly received two more texts in quick succession. “Oh no,” I thought, “Sara’s frantically texting me, something’s gone wrong.” I agonized over it for awhile before using my notebook to shield me and sneaking a peek at my phone when the judge was looking the other way. Turns out the other two texts were coincidental, from a coworker, and my worry was for naught. By the time I got home, Evie was already recovered and well.
After that, everything seemed to sink in a little bit more, and we fell into a sort of a routine. The best days were the ones when I could take the train, but even driving wasn’t bad. I started to enjoy the short commute, the chance to do a little walking now and again, and the general hubbub of downtown. During our lunch break I could either go for a walk downtown or just sit and look out the 25th story window at the beautiful view of downtown and the lake. Lunch was provided by the court, but after careful consideration, I will not be recommending the jury room for dining to out of town guests. We didn’t know when we would get breaks so I started taking every chance to pee, because I have a 2 year old and these sorts of concerns are ever on my mind.
As the week wore on, some people were starting to get fatigued but I still founding it interesting. It was fascinating to see the procedural stuff and the gamesmanship of the lawyers. A couple of days we ended up getting out early because the questioning went a little faster than expected and there were no more witnesses for the day. However, it was a bit like getting a snow day you know you’ll have to make up in June; we didn’t want the trial to last any longer than it had to.
Again, the thing that really surprised me was how exhausting the whole ordeal was. That just wasn’t something I would have guessed.
The one really positive thing was my fellow jury members. We honestly all got along great and I really enjoyed their company. I could see how easy it would be for one crummy person to really ruin the whole thing for everybody. Luckily, that was not a worry for us. This was especially considering that the jury was truly diverse. Young, old, black, white, hispanic, male, female…you couldn’t have had a more diverse crowd if you were planning one of those fake “see how much everybody loves our products?” commercials.
Again, no matter what trials and tribulations I was going through, someone else always had it worse. Some of the other jurors were not being paid while serving on the jury. One was a student who was missing classes just before finals. One was even suspended by her job, and the judge had to intercede on her behalf. She said afterwards that she would probably look for a new job based on the bad blood caused by this.
Now that’s dedication to jury duty!