Thursday, March 13, 2008

the secular world

Interesting day, today. One of the side effects of finally getting a New York driver's license was that my name and address were put back into the system. I was called for jury duty.

This hasn't happened since some time in the 90's when my electric bill targeted me, and I served four days on a personal injury case that settled the day we were to begin deliberations. It was kind of disappointing to hear all that testimony and then not get to even talk about it.

It was probably just as well. The final day of testimony had included a sobbing wife (ala Tammy Faye/mascara) explain in lurid detail how her sex life had been totally ruined by her husband's depression over his chronic back pain, which was, of course, caused by his fall from the scaffolding on a job site. Up until that tearful rendition, the plaintiff had had the jury in his pocket. We all just looked at each other, as if to say, "Me thinks she protests too much!" and the tide of opinion turned in that moment.

Well, I can't say that for sure. We didn't get to talk about it. But I rode the subway home after we were dismissed with another juror who felt the same way I did. Fast forward to today: another personal injury case. Only now I'm a nun in the secular world. You may think we'd be exempt from jury duty, but that's not the case. Hardly anybody is exempt anymore. Those of us called to this particular panel spent the entire day being questioned by two lawyers, plus a judge. They haven't finished. We must return tomorrow morning for more of the same. It's obvious many of us will be disqualified. But here's something I learned... never say "I don't know." They can't stand that; it makes them crazy.

I said it a few times. It was the truth. Boy do they get cranky when you say "I don't know."

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