“The envelope came in the summer, and I dutifully returned the questionnaire. Now I am sitting in a room of strangers, waiting.
Are we really strangers? We share a community. Some of us are very similar. I can hear the murmer of conversations around me – a middle aged artist (like me) discussing her work – a 40 something woman talking families and kids with a 30 something mom. A few seats down is a 20 year old young woman with a beautiful butterfly tattoo on her arm, reading something on her cell phone. I have something in common with each of these women. I wonder how random it is that we chose to sit near each other?
Pause. A woman came into the room to take some jurors to a courtroom – the room fell silent as we all listened for juror numbers. Thirteen assembled in the hallway as the room conversations remained halted. The jury coordinator turned the quiet radio back on, after they left, but we all seem content to remain silent for just a bit longer. Lost in my own thoughts, I wonder what everyone is thinking? About the video we watched about our duties as a juror? It was inspiring and sobering. It talked about how to be a good juror and what to expect if we move from this room to the courtroom. Do I feel relieved that my number wasn’t called? Or disappointed? The trials for today were just one day trials, so being chosen wouldn’t have been a hardship. After 30 minutes of quiet or hushed conversation, the noise level in the room began to rise. ”
I wrote the above on a sheet of paper as I sat in the jury room last week. We were all dismissed around noon, they only took those 13. My day, like the rest of the people in that jury pool, went on as usual. But did it really? I think we all felt a sense of community, even as we assembled in the parking lot down the street. I walked the 5 blocks to the courthouse with another woman, someone that I had not met before and won’t see again. But she is my neighbor just the same. There are a lot of jokes and excuses made about serving on a jury. But when all is said and done, if YOU got into trouble, or needed a legal hand, wouldn’t you want someone like YOU helping to decided the outcome of that chapter in your life? Facing that kind of thing is stressful enough. Its nice to know that if it comes down to something serious, that requires legal action, the jury that will decide MY fate will be comprised of neighbors.
This single photo I chose was taken in a State park not far from here. Open to the public, me and my neighbors.