It wasn’t until I double-checked my jury summons while standing in Foley Square this morning that I realized I was going to be in a different courthouse today. 60 Centre Street is one of the fancier courthouses, one that you’d expect to see Jack McCoy standing in front of during an episode of Law & Order. So that was a pleasant surprise.
Anyway, first we watched the same orientation video that I remember from last time I was on jury duty. Ed Bradley returned from the grave to host the video, and it included a great clip from the Perry Mason TV show as an example of the way that court cases DON’T work in reality. Which reminds me, I got another season of Perry Mason for my birthday (thanks, Hawk!) that I really need to watch. After the video was over, I hung out in the main juror room for a while, and then went to have a snack in the break room when my stomach started growling. Oh, and in case you were wondering what reading materials were available in the break room, I can report that they had a number of magazines to choose from, including Bloomberg Business Week and Yachting. I’ll give you a moment to mull that over.
Anyway, most of the morning was spent checking my email, reading Rick Riordan’s The Throne of Fire, waiting for my name to be called, and staring at the clock to see if it was 12:00 yet. You see, we’d been told that “around noon” we’d get an update about whether or not we’d be needed for the rest of the afternoon. So of course at 12:05 I heard my name called. Damn.
But on the plus side, we were told to take a long lunch and then be back in the afternoon to go through the voir dire process. So I knew that I had some time to wander around the neighborhood taking pictures with my iPod and looking for cool places to eat. I also knew that I had some time before I had to explain to a bunch of strangers why I had checked off four out of the seven boxes in the criminal/legal issues section of the juror questionnaire. Thanks to the history of a Family Member Who Shall Not Be Named, I have to have these conversations every frigging time I go to jury duty, which pisses me off to no end.
But wait — we’re not there yet — I’m still exploring Chinatown to find a place to eat! So I wandered around looking into different places before settling on a Vietnamese sandwich place called Thien Huong in Chatham Square. I’d wanted to try a bahn mi sandwich for a while now, and this was a good opportunity to do so. They had several varieties available, and I picked the grilled pork sandwich, which was delightful. Then I took pictures for a while:
So finally I made my way back to the courthouse, where I was one of a handful of people in an otherwise empty jury room. Apparently, they’d let everyone else go for the day. Damn.
Then they called our names again, brought us into a side room …
… and told us that the case we’d been asked to return for had been cancelled, and they weren’t going to need us after all.
And THEN they said that we could go home for the rest of the day, and that we wouldn’t need to come back tomorrow, that this day was going to count as our entire jury service this time around.
So after I got my “proof of service” documentation, I left the courthouse and called my boyfriend to gloat. Then I went back to Chinatown and bought him his own bahn mi sandwich and a “strawberry slush” drink for myself.
And then I went home, flung open the windows and turned on the fans, and relaxed for a while.
Tomorrow, life goes back to normal. Or as normal as it gets, anyway.