Friday, October 22, 2004

One Duty Discharged, Another Shirked

Yesterday, I had to report for jury duty at the Multnomah County Courthouse.
Before things got going, we listened to a spiel from the courthouse’s director of Security. His lecture was quite startling and enlightening. For example, do not purchase the following items on lunch break and expect that you will be allowed to bring them back into the courthouse (these are all real examples):

  • a chainsaw (who knew you could purchase a chainsaw in downtown Portland?)
  • a baseball bat
  • a set of golf clubs
  • boxes of liquor

He also mentioned a few items that, though they would not get you jailed, were not allowed in the jury room, among them “straight-edged knitting needles.” Hmm. What could those be? I had a pair of aluminum knitting needles in my bag and they had successfully made it through the X-ray machine. Could I assume that my needles were not banned? Or should I assume that the X-ray machine and the security officers were not infallible? I surreptitiously checked to see just how lethal the tips of my needles looked. They were less pointy than two well-sharpened pencils. Nevertheless, we do live in the age of panic and paranoia, so I decided it would be best to leave the needles in the bag.

For me and most of the other jurors, lunch break never came. We were released at noon. Yay! Hunger overrode my better judgment, and I blew almost my entire jury “paycheck” ($10) on an overpriced Italian lunch. I then rationalized that since I had expected to spend the whole day on jury duty and not working, I could go over to Powell’s City of Books for a little while and then go home and work.

I could not extract myself from Powell’s. Everything I saw seemed riveting—even cat calendars. I ended up buying three books and paging through dozens more. Around 2:00 PM I finally made it to the MAX (light rail) and headed home, intending to put in three or four hours of work when I got home. When I got off the MAX, however, it seemed such a nice day that I decided to do a little leaf peeping and general dawdling, so I walked home instead of taking the bus. Once home, I did maybe half an hour of work before my new Canon Ink Hog™ printer ran out of black ink and dry-gulched any remaining hope that I might get some work done.

I needed a day off anyway.


Blogger Rusty said...


Just wanted to drop a note to say I very much enjoy your writing. The DHL dialogue was scintillating. Jury duty was accurately described, both in the ridiculous details cited by the Sheriff's Captain down there in the jury room, and in the relief when you get to leave early (although on my day of jury duty, I didn't get out until after 2pm, despite not cutting the proverbial mustard).

I hope you can avoid what I keep on running into on my blog, which is the sudden realization that you have nothing interesting to discuss. Sounds like you have good tabs on the pulse of your life, though, and you find delightful ways to describe the everyday that make it worthwhile. Thanks for giving me something to aspire to.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...


What a nice compliment. Thank you.

9:51 PM  

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