Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Jury's Out

Much to the delight of my husband, who's been called several times, my number recently came up for Greene County jury duty. At first, I was chagrined, but the more I thought about it, the more I was looking forward to the experience. First off, it would get me away from the office for a day or two (or twenty); second, it's my civic duty, and I'm all about duty; third, it would be great experience and fodder for future fiction. Win, win, win.

I was particularly excited to run into some "characters." I live in the Ozarks, after all. We're overrun with characters. And the people I met at court would be great in an upcoming book of mine. Not any book in particular, mind you, but some book someday in the future.

My biggest concern about jury duty was forgetting to go. I've been plagued with nightmares of inadvertently dodging my responsibility since I accepted the summons weeks ago. The summons told me I needed to call the day before my scheduled service to see if the court still needed my group (Group 7). I've been telling myself for two weeks, "Can't forget to call. Can't forget to call." Sometimes, in the middle of the day, my stomach would drop, and I'd think, "What's the date? Did I forget to call? Did I miss my date?" A normal person would set an alarm on her cell phone and be done with it, but... who has two thumbs and isn't normal? This girl! I'd rather experience daily heart-stopping moments of terror and dread for weeks. Yes, that's much better.

Friday at work, I made the sort of arrangements normally reserved for vacation time away from the office, fully prepared to be gone for an unknown amount of time. It was sort of exciting! Okay, this is when I determined that my life is reaching an extreme level of lameness. But I've lived through some exciting times, and I have to say, I much prefer the type of boring existence I currently lead. I'm content with having the prospect of jury duty thrill me, because that means life is pleasantly dull, and nothing horribly stressful is going on.

All day yesterday, I repeated my "Don't forget to call" mantra. I had a dream last night about being arrested at work for shirking my duty after forgetting to go. And I've spent a lot of today looking at the clock, waiting until the magic hour of 5:00, when it was time for me to call and listen to the recorded message regarding group assignments.

Five o'clock arrived. I waited until 5:36 (because I'm cool like that). Then, with summons slip in hand, I dialed the first number listed. The man in the recording informed me that Groups 1-3 were to report on Tuesday, rather than Monday. Then, "Groups 4 through 14 are dismissed. Your service is no longer required."

What?! After all that, Group 7 is simply dismissed without ever reporting? Really? But I'm willing! And I really wanted the experience! And I've been fretting about this for weeks. Now, I'm dismissed? How anti-climactic! Someone really needs to instruct the Greene County Court in the ways of story arc.

Ah, well. I guess I'll have to be content with dealing with the usual characters tomorrow at work. Ho. Hum.

I live in Springfield, Missouri, and work with a bunch of engineers and geologists forty hours a week. Is it any wonder I was excited by the opportunity to serve on a jury? My fictional characters' lives are a lot more thrilling than my real life. Check it out for yourself. Links to my books' Amazon pages are on my webpage, www.breabrown.com. You can also find links to my email, my Twitter feed, my Facebook account, and this blog from there. Don't be shy; drop me a note!

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