I've been called for jury duty three times in my life and this time was the first time I had to do more than sit in that big room reading.
I've always been afraid of serving. I don't feel I'm intelligent enough to decide anyone's fate but I know it's my civic duty and I take that very seriously.
I got a book out of the library a few days before and settled in for a day of reading. That lasted about an hour and a half before my name was called with the second group they came to pull in. My stomach did flips.
We were all seated in the jury box and the voir dire began. We all had to tell everyone our names, where we lived, worked, spouses, kids names and ages along with where they worked or went to school. Public speaking of any kind is NOT my thing!
I sound like I'm under water when I speak in front of any kind of audience. When I told my kids ages, I had to stop and think for a second and then wondered if I said the right ages after I said it. After a couple hours, they dismissed a few people and I wasn't one of them. With a big smile on his face the judge said "To those of you that are still here, congratulations you have been selected."
Inner dialogue started... what congratulations, there's no congratulating me, I'm a nervous wreck, I don't want to decide anything, what if I'm wrong, what if nobody agrees with me, I'll be Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men or Edith Bunker on All in the Family when she served. I'm like Rex in the movie Toy Story.... "I hate confrontations!" I will go out of my way to avoid an argument. My ex-husband may disagree but that's a horse of a different color.
Then I started to worry about my spark streaks.... my water intake, walking every day, 5 fruits and veggies. How will I accomplish all that sitting in a jury box all day???
They showed us to the jury deliberation room where we would meet each day, where we would get sent to when lawyers needed to talk about things we shouldn't hear and then finally to deliberate. We were to only use the bathroom in that room, we could not be out in the halls at all unless we were coming and going to lunch. Let me tell you, I have a bladder the size of a pea and that bathroom was WAY not sound-proofed enough for my comfort!!!!!
Since I didn't have to be in court till 9:15 each day, I got up at my usual time about 5:30am, had some fruit and two glasses of water, then showered, then breakfast that included another fruit or vegetable or both.
We had to leave our cell phones in our cars, no devices allowed in the building with photo capabilities. So each day at lunch time, I walked up the 60+ stairs of the parking garage to call my husband to say hello before walking to get something to eat.
I ate at Subway and was very proud of myself. I ordered the chicken breast sandwich with some veggies, no condiments, a bag of apple slices and a bottle of water. I ate slow and read my book some more.
After I ate, I went for a brisk, 10 minute walk since we are having unseasonably warm weather here in the Chicago area. I made good use of Subway's bathroom before and after lunch so I could avoid 11 people listening to me at a time that you don't want strangers listening to you!!!
The case lasted three days. So for two nights and three days, I worried that I must be missing something. Each day I listened and waited for some amazing piece of evidence and it never came.
I lost sleep. It was killing me not to discuss it with my husband to get some insight as to what I should be thinking about but that is a Bozo no no!
So each day, I managed to get all my water and fruits and veggies in, ate healthy at Subway, climbed the 60+ stairs to call my husband and got my workouts done in the evening. I also continued to stress about the fact that I do not want to vote in favor of the plaintiff!
Both sides rested their cases and we were told to come back the next morning to receive instructions and begin deliberations. They said to let our families know that once we start deliberating, we will not be allowed to go home until we are done. I felt acid in my stomach. This is it, I thought, the story will hit the evening news, "lone juror holds up deliberations on a simple civil case."
When we were sent to deliberate, everyone started giving their opinions and they were the same as mine. It was the first time I felt I could breathe for three days. What a relief! While we documented our verdicts, they gave us Giordano's pizza. Sorry to say, I scarfed three pieces, sausage and pepperoni and a large bottle of Pepsi. It's rare that I can finish a can of pop these days, let alone this big bottle.
My relief came to an end when the bailiff led us back to the courtroom to give our verdict. My heart pounded like a cartoon character. I felt like people could see it thumping all the way down the hall ahead of me! I worried about the plaintiff getting angry but they showed no emotion which of course made me nervous too. I'm always worried.
When I got home, my husband took me out to Lou Malnati's.... more pizza, beer and bruschetta. I felt like a bottomless pit! All that anxiety released in a day full of carb glory! But I really worked the muscles all week so I didn't worry too much about it. I screwed up my fruits and veggies streak but I'm starting over!
I think I have two years before I can be called for jury duty again and I have a lifetime to keep at my spark streaks!