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So How Did Jury Duty Go?

I sucked it up and attended jury duty this morning. It was not a pleasant experience!

On my juror application, I stressed that I would not be a good candidate for jury duty due to problems with social anxiety. I cited the college statistics final where, after being the only person in the class who hadn’t completed their exam, I had a panic attack. When I was in 6th grade, I was called to the front of the cafeteria during an awards banquet. How I made it up to the stage has always been a mystery to me, as the only thing I remember was having the realization that my name might be called and being unable to hear anything else except my heartbeat afterward. Sexy Nerd can vouch for my anxiety. Five minutes before our wedding, Captain Howie pulled out what I thought to be a microphone (it was actually a tape recorder). Not only was I going to have to recite vows in front of everyone – I was going to have to do it loudly?? I was ready to call the whole thing off!

How could I possibly serve on jury duty? I would have to drive downtown, (no!) find the specific courthouse needed, (no!) go through security, (no!) sit in an unfamiliar room filled with (as I imagined) seedy people, (no!) and, worst of all, I may have to say something, like my name, in front of these people (no, no, no!!!) Despite being notified of my anxiety, the State of New Mexico decided that I was a fit candidate for service. I tried to warn them.

Sexy Nerd had the day off work today, and being the best husband ever, he volunteered not only to drive me to jury duty, but to sit and wait with me too. Thank goodness he drove. I would never have found it. The directions clearly stated to park in the METRO PARKING garage to avoid a parking charge. Being the cheap thrifty person I am, I would have refused to park anywhere else. What the directions failed to mention was that their recommended parking garage does not have any signs. There are dozens of parking garages downtown. How are us map-challenged people supposed to figure out which building is the Metro Parking parking garage if there is no Metro Parking sign?

On our way to the courthouse, I let Sexy Nerd in on a little secret. “I’m going to cry and have a panic attack to get out of jury duty.” I told him. “Don’t feel bad for me. It’s just an act! It’ll teach them a lesson!” Maybe I was trying to make light of the situation or convince myself that I was in control. Whatever my reasoning was, my little act was history as soon as we stepped into the courthouse, and the actual, uncontrollable panic set in.

To make a long story slightly shorter (don’t you love when you write and write and lose steam just as you’re getting to the good part?) I went from having watery eyes while signing in, to a runny nose while standing in line, to full-on tears with gasps for breath once seated inside the courtroom. The woman to my right gave me a tissue, then remarked “Oh dear!” and returned to her purse to get me an entire stack of tissues. The woman on my left rubbed my back and commented on what a poor thing I was and how I shouldn’t have to be there. All this while the judge was addressing the court. I knew it was silly. I didn’t want to cry. I mean, I was just sitting in a room! There was certainly no reason to cry! No matter how much I yelled at myself to stop, I simply couldn’t.

Questions were asked and I was forced to speak in front of everyone. The judge said one of the most stupid things I’ve ever heard: “If there is anyone who feels they are incapable of serving due to a feeling of discomfort, anxiety, or shyness about being on a jury, please raise your hand and explain it. You can also raise your hand, then come up front to explain it to me.”
You want me to single myself out, walk to the front, (however that would be done, as we were sitting on benches and I was on the end toward the wall) and stand there speaking in front of everyone?!

I hope it goes without saying that I was not selected to serve. On the drive home from jury duty, Sexy Nerd said he was surprised I had gone at all. He thought I would find a way out of it. I’ve tried. That’s why my service has been deferred 3 times and why I received a snippy little lecture about the obligations of being a U.S. citizen this time. Sexy Nerd later admitted that he loved being at the courthouse and wished that he could be the lucky one serving. Geez, is he a weirdo or what? 

Comments

  1. What a fun little blog you have, I love your sense of humor, I also love anyone that buys clearance food at Target and takes the picture with the markdown label on it!! Nothing like a good bargain!

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  2. Oh dear! I've never been called for jury duty (fingers crossed). I would absolutely hate it. I sympathize. :( But you got through it, you're an all star!

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  3. As you wrote on my blog before coffee...I am writing on your late at night after dealing with 50 crazy cub scouts...so this is not a relevant comment to the post...I am coming back to read more in the am! I am grabbing your button...my blog just got made over so I am moving thing to the "right" places, but my button is a couple of spaces under my followers widget (followers, subscribe by email, subscribe ins a reader...button!)

    Holly
    504 Main

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  4. I have checked out your blog a few times before, but this is the post that has won me over and turned me into a button-displaying regular reader!

    The anxiety, I haz it too.

    Great post!

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  5. sorry about your experience! I have a bit of a social anxiety problem myself. Luckily with all the moving I've done, I've been able to doge it! Happy SITS day!

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  6. Lol! Your tooo funny. This reminds me of when I tried to get out of jury duty

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  7. Aw that is funny. Sorry that you actually had to go through a real panic (I know that's quite unpleasant) but at least you didn't get jury duty!

    I got it a few times but always got out of it since I was a full time student.

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  8. I've never been able to serve on jury duty. It makes me a little sad. One of these days I'm going to be in trouble though because I'm still a U.S resident and yet I work overseas. They apparently don't accept work and travel as appropriate excuses.

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  9. Jury Duty is absolutely the worst. Amazing how something can be stressful and boring at the same time, huh? Have a wonderful SITS day!

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  10. Hiya! I know the feeling. Well my problem was the opposite. I WANTED to do the jury duty. I was mad to do it. But my boss wouldn't let me go. No kidding. I was working for a foreign embassy in Dublin, my native city and I got off the duty on the grounds of diplomatic immunity or some such technicality. I was sick over it. I would have loved to be on jury duty, it would be such an adventure!

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  11. I've been summoned 3 times, but never have served. I really want to, though!

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  12. Happy SITS day!

    I have to admit, I would LOVE to serve on a jurty but will probably never get the chance. I once admitted, during a job interview, that my dream job is to be a State Prosecutor. haha!

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  13. You know what, social anxiety disorder is a serious problem and people who don't have it or don't love someone who has it will never understand. But you survived the ordeal! I don't have social anxiety disorder (my mom does). By the way, I went to a court in Detroit because of a jury summons. I thought it was super interesting hearing everyone's mugged, shot, hate the cops stories (and this was during jury selection!).

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  14. Do you ever watch 30 Rock? There was a HILLARIOUS one about New Yorkers trying to get out of jury duty.

    I personally have managed to get out of it by conviently having a newborn every time I've been called. And now we're in the military so it's not like I can go halfway across the country next time I'm called for my home county...but at this point I think it would be kind of interesting way to get out of the house for a day. :)

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  15. I have only been called once. At first there was no way I wanted to be selected, but after sitting there for HOURS (it sure seemed like it) and hearing the outline of what the case was about. (It actually sounded like it was going to be very dramatic and interesting) I was kind of disappointed they didn't select me. Guess I am weird too, or just nosy.

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  16. Just found you on SITS!! Congratulations!! I had to click over and read this story because I myself just completed 11 days of jury duty. I was picked for a Medical Malpractice trial. I actually cried when I got out to my car after being selected. As it turned out, my co-jurors were not too seedy and it actually turned out to be fascinating and I am grateful to have the experience. I hope to finish my post about the experience tomorrow. Stop by and check it out, I think you will relate! Great blog, by the way, can't wait to read more!!

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  17. My dad got selected one time and he just LOVED it! He thought it was the greatest thing in the world. I am so happy he had that life experience. He is rare though, right? : )

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