Why was I not more excited? I mean, how many people get to walk in and walk out of that stinky, depressing jury holding cell within an hour?
It comes down to this: I had decided jury duty would be like the airplane rides I used to take, before Direct TV and pre-Samson. They were not something I looked forward to at the time (unless I had the rare upgrade to first class), but I made the best of them.
These days I wouldn’t mind five hours of nothing.
I brought a book (still haven’t cracked open Bossy Pants), some work I’m doing on my commercial marketing materials, a hopefully-inspiring iPod download of Marianne Williamson talking about “women and career”, and a New Yorker magazine (I’ve been wanting to read the article about Jane Fonda “finding her way back to acting” that’s been waiting patiently on my bathroom floor). For the first time in about a year and a half, I was going to deliberately kill time. Of course, I would complain about it to whoever would listen, and roll my eyes along with the other people who sincerely didn’t want to be there.
About ten minutes after I found a window seat (hey, a window seat! With trees outside! Not too shabby), the clerk got on the mic and laid out our options…
If you stayed, you had to be available for an average of 5-7 business days to be on a panel. (Gulp!)
You could postpone your service, if you hadn’t already (I already had)
OR, you could be EXCUSED if:
You were over 70 years old (wait, weren’t those the only people who wanted to be on a jury panel?)
or you were CARING FOR A CHILD UNDER 5 YEARS OF AGE.
That’s me, that’s me!!!!
I walked out of the room, went into the line of people to be excused, got my ticket and waited to talk to the woman who’d set me free.
After looking at my excuse form, she only asked me one question: “are you working?”
Hmmm… My usual response to that question goes something like “Well, yes. I audition quite a bit for TV commercials (I just shot a PSA), I do stand-up comedy, I write a blog and I am writing a web series as well as a screenplay. I’m a writer/actor/comedienne, and I’ve done some comedic hosting. I’ve also appeared in several shorts and videos, some featured on Comedy Central. My goal is to do more on-camera scripted work, like sitcoms or comedy films. I’m a creator-performer. Kind of a Tina Fey-Lisa Kudrow-Ellen Degeneres type.”
But I knew better. I was not at a Hollywood networking event (and if I were, let’s hope I’d come up with something more “winning” than the above). I was in a dingy court office, where there was only one word that would set me free. When she said, “are you working?” I said, “no.”
And she signed my release. I was out of there before 10am.
So I felt mixed about the outcome. I would have liked a chance to sit and chill for a few hours. BUT would I have wanted to commit to 5-7 days or more of being stuck on a panel? HELLZ NO. I’d have to book out of commercial auditions. I’d be spending no time with Samson, yet making no money. And besides, this would mean 5-7 days of Rob on baby duty and also not working. No good.
And, guess what? I was able to beat the system! I got out of jury duty! I had a free ticket. A diaper-wearing, cheerios-eating, one-word-sentence-speaking ticket.
So, the moral of the story is:
If you can get out of jury duty, do it!
As for feeling guilty for not fulfilling my civic duty, I say: whatevs, when Samson’s over 5 and I have no excuses till I’m 70+ years old, I will be glad I took the opportunity.
Thanks, Samson! He keeps giving me more reasons to be grateful.
(But I still don’t know when I’m going to read about Jane Fonda’s comeback.)
Got any tales of jury duty woe? Wanna berate me for skipping out on our justice system? State your case in a comment: