Thursday, June 11, 2009
When Duty Calls
NO ONE WANTS TO BE HERE.
Not even the unemployed, or the soul-destroyingly employed. Which may be why they screen a video first thing airing all the complaints of people like you walking into the court building for jury duty. The powersuit: "But I have SO many projects at work going on. They need me at the office!" The colorful Hispanic woman: "Why they show me bloody pictures?! What they want me for?" A pixelated 1970's Diane Sawyer offers a brief soliloquy on the nobility of jury duty and the rule of law, nevermind betch was probably just coming off her stint as Nixon's press aide. By the end of the video an American flag is waving in the breeze (meaning: justice has been served), and kvetchers are reformed, Intervention-style. The theme song from Titanic or Braveheart or The West Wing commences and the former naysayers spring out onto the court steps enthusing about their enlightened views. A Wall Street tycoon with a face like he invented roofies tells you his clients can wait because his first priority as an American is to be good citizen. A bird passes above some Melanie Griffith-in-Working-Girl head, which really only reminds you of the fact that you're inside a windowless room with archaic fluorescent bulbs. A room that reeks of medicinal farts and the sounds of throaty mucus.
The man running this shindig is mean. Every time an innocent approaches the podium with a question he answers him or her straight into the microphone despite the fact the confused party is standing inches away from his face. Thus littered in between role calls are caustic one-liners like: "Let me teach you how to read." "Funny, you LOOK like someone who knew how to listen." "How do you pronounce this crazy name of yours?" There's one guy in the second row who looks like Rick Moranis, who maybe actually could be Rick Moranis, who laughs at every single one of these. I've labeled him the Betrayer, he reminds me of the Jewish guards who ran the ghettos. Closer to home, home being this electronic light box burning up my lap, the overweight Army man next to me is a mouth breather. I know he's an Army man because he has a buzzcut and his computer screen is a rendering of a beefed-up Uncle Sam with the slogan, "IT'S WAR TIME. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HELP?" My typing annoys him. I can feel his rage in the form of heat and I imagine he's really upset right now that he's not spanking recruits out on a grassy field.
The Internet connection here blocks Blogger.com, it seems so undemocratic. And what they call straws are really stirrers and the sucking force they necessitate is putting me at risk for a brain aneurysm. I feel like a betch for betching, you know, it's just jury duty, but my shoes have been wet all day, now my feet are dank and cold, and I've just gotten to the part in the book I brought where one Euro satanic metal dude eats another Euro satanic metal dude's brain and I guess I just feel like a relatively good person comparatively and maybe like I deserve this outlet. Even if maybe I don't.
Posted by Lauren Bans