Liveblogging Jury Duty

Bunch of people sitting around to perform our civic duty.

It’s my first time to be summoned for jury duty even though I’ve been a registered voter for the last 12 years.

This is not going to be as fun as the time I live-blogged the blind date going on behind me at Panera Bread, but it seems that there’s going to be a lot of sitting around here in the “juror’s lounge” as we await going into a courtroom to (possibly) be selected to be on a jury panel. I’m not using ScribbleLive or any of the other liveblogging services cause I don’t think I’ll have that much to blog. So just refresh or come back often…

9:29am: We are all checked in and hanging out in a wi-fi powered lounge. I’d say about 150 people were called to be part of several possible jury panels. Watched an orientation video detailing how much we’d get paid ($4 for transportation) and warning us not to use, wait for it, LinkedIn, if we were selected to be on a panel. A creepy, sniffling guy decided to sit next to me, audibly sighing all through the video.

9:32am: Now audibly-sighing-guy (heretofore ASG) is listening to some podcast on his laptop and making annoying sniffle-chuckle sounds. Me and the gal behind him keep making exasperated faces at one another. I’m giving this another few minutes before I move to the other side of the room. Or I am going to record him with my iPhone so you can suffer with me.

9:35am: Apparently they used to play movies in the lounge. But “one person ruined it for everyone by complaining about the movies being distracting.” You know, I’m probably better off because they would have inevitably played that Rachel MacAdams-Channing Tatum rom-com that I keep seeing (without the sound on) on airplanes.

9:51am: The next round of Washingtonians summoned for jury duty is beginning to get checked in. I am part of the 8am round, there is also a 10am round, it looks like. I am stealing glances at ASG. He is sighing at his stock portfolio now. His elbow has also taken over my left armrest.

10:05am: Me and fetus are hungry. Incidentally, fetus is also doing a perimeter check around the womb right now, which seems to be the only activity he/she really has. But lunch is not until 1pm. Food is available at a place called “Firehook Cafe” in the basement. Or you can ask one of the staff members for a one-sheet called “Grub List” for places to eat nearby.

10:23am: Awesome, ASG has fallen asleep and is now snoring! Which is inspiring, actually. I think I’m going to try and nap. Be back later…

My juror badge. All the cool kids have one.

10:48: Moment of truth time. Anyone who has been hanging out in the snack area or the business center has been paged to come back to the lounge because “a panel is about to be called. They will call by last name and the last three numbers on our little juror badges.

10:50am: About 30 people have been called so far, and one of them is ASG! His last name is O’Leary. Should I start calling him by his name or just stay with his code name? Dilemma.

10:56am: A much cleaner, non-sniffling guy has taken a seat next to me in the lounge. I’m feeling relieved and less concerned about my immune system already. Next panel is getting called now. Here’s my second chance…

11:00am: I didn’t get called AGAIN! Maybe third time will be the charm.

11:33am: Four more judges need panels to be called, so I still have a shot. But we have to wait for the judges to say they want us.

11:43am: I took a bathroom break to go cough (still battling a respiratory thing) and a woman actually lets me go ahead of her in line due to my condition! This is my first pregnancy social perk; I’m over-excited about it.

12:01pm: Things are so much less interesting now that I’m sitting next to a quiet, non-sigher/non-sniffler. The room is only half as full as it was earlier today because so many other folks have been called into courtroom panels. I have an hour before my big trip to the basement “Firehook Cafe” for lunch.

12:21pm: I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath for my latest update. The truth is, nothing is happening. Guy in front of me is reading Express. Guy next to me is reading something on his iPhone but the brightness is dimmed so I can’t tell what it is.

12:45pm: The lunch countdown is on.

12:57pm: My seat neighbor (who replaced ASG) and I started chatting; he’s in financial planning and named Greg. I told him I was a political journalist so the two of us ended up looking at 2012 electoral college projections for the past few minutes, paying particular attention to tossup states. He thinks Obama will keep Virginia, my feeling is the opposite.

LUNCH BREAK

1:56pm: Back from lunch. My neighbor Greg invited me to go with him but I decided I didn’t really feel like talking to anyone for an entire hour. (My little bro is actually the extroverted one out of the two Hu kids.) I went to nearby Hill Country BBQ for overpriced brisket at the bar, where I sat next to some d-baggy guy who was talking about how he didn’t understand why people went to strip clubs. (Uhhhhh.) Then I met the waitress and learned her brother is linebacker Prescott Burgess, who was recently traded to the Broncos from the Ravens.

It's only a matter of time before he blows his nose into his nasty pink hankerchief again.

2:09pm: Now that we rearranged our places in the lounge, the nice gal I kept exchanging exasperated faces with about ASG took a seat next to me. We are assuming we won’t get called since there’s fewer than three hours left and there are still more than 100 of us waiting to hear our fate.

2:15pm: Oh NOES! Mr. O’Leary, aka ASG to you, HAS RETURNED! I guess he got stricken from his earlier chance to be on a jury. Now he’s seated right in front of me. My fellow exasperated gal goes, “It’s funny how we have this whole room, and yet people return to the same seat.” He’s AUDIBLY SIGHING and sniffling already.

2:25pm: Now ASG is watching last night’s Daily Show. I love Daily Show as much as the next guy, but there is no need for him to be disturbing a room full of people who area all sitting silently with his phlegmy guffaws. The two women unfortunate enough to be stuck sitting next to him keep making faces at him like I did, but ASG is totally oblivious.

2:31pm: Poor woman sitting next to ASG is now just shaking her head slowly with each noise he makes. It’s hard to describe how irritating he is, except that he’s so creepily annoying with the chuckles, snot-sounds and sighs that I am now laughing out loud over the absurdity of this situation.

2:33pm: “All the needs of the court have been met, ladies and gentlemen,” says the staffer. Everyone applauds. And with that, jury duty is over. What a day. Thanks for keeping me company!

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