Then I grew up.
I came to understand that a person's future would be, to a certain extent, in my hands. What a huge responsibility!
When the summons arrived in the mailbox, therefore, I was not excited. I was hopeful that I would not be selected.
My day began with a short drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike during the thick of Rush Hour Traffic. I only had to travel seven miles, but the number of cars jostling around from lane to lane was mind-boggling. By the time I arrived at the county seat, I had aching hands from gripping the wheel, a lump in my stomach, and the beginnings of a ghastly headache, the likes of which I've not had in years. I had good directions, and the off-turnpike traffic was minimal, but I was still so stressed that I completely missed the turn-off to the parking garage.
My fellow potential jurors (there were more than a hundred of us, I'd guess) were good-natured and about as eager as I was to serve. After viewing a well-produced video and being welcomed by a judge, we settled in for what we hoped would be a day of reading and pleasant chatter. The marshal then told us that there were two cases that would need a jury; one a criminal case and the other, civil. With Kim's summer experience lingering in recent memory, I was relieved not to be among the 45 individuals sent up to Courtroom B.
The headache had intensified at this point and, of course, there was no way I could get pain medicine. Then the marshal called up 36 people to report to Courtroom E for the civil matter. I was Number Twelve. The judge gave a somewhat rambly introduction to jury duty and some of the facts of the case. The Defendant and the Plaintiff(s) were at tables with their attorneys. He said that the trial would last two days, including that day. A list of group questions was read and we were asked to hold up our number if we had an affirmative answer. The lawyers and the judge then retired for a bit and we were instructed to talk among ourselves. Number Eleven lives about a mile and a half from where I live, and Number Thirteen develops software for drug companies. Eleven was selected to serve; Thirteen and I were mercifully excused. We were thanked for our service and told our obligation was fulfilled for the next three years.
I made my way home, thankful that the turnpike traffic was back to normal, found my ibuprofen, and collapsed, my civic duty fulfilled. My nine-dollar-plus-mileage paycheck will arrive in three weeks. I think it is earmarked for a yard of batik, don't you?