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The word scares the bejeebers out of me! Especially when "Court" precedes it. It can only mean one thing for the average law-abiding citizen - jury duty. The dreaded letter arrived in snail mail and froze me in my tracks; I was summoned even after claiming hardship. You can imagine my first reaction: lunging at the laptop to request a postponement. That gave me two extra weeks to cope. The night before, I called the number on the letter and was told that I did not have to report. Relief washed over me until Tarun figured out that I had not used the correct number to check. Affirmative on reporting!

I went to bed repeating, "I believe in life imprisonment for parking violations" as a way of convincing the lawyers of my cognitive dysfunction.

"One day or length of trial" is what the letter said. All I could think of was the endless OJ Simpson trial and the sequestered jury's plight. I dragged myself to the Courthouse bright and early, ready to be disconnected from my devices, muttering under my breath: how on earth was I going to juggle the company and mother without internet.

As I exited the car, I saw "Betsy", trying to find her way to jury duty. We quickly gravitated toward each other because, well, misery loves company.

On the quarter of a mile walk to the Courthouse, I learned that Betsy has a pacemaker, suffers from unexplained fainting spells, and was sensing the onset of a migraine. She still came because it is her civic duty and she wasn't going to weasel out of it. She was the antidote this whiny juror needed. If she can do it despite her health challenges, what the heck was wrong with me?! If she can get there in the morning while worrying about whether 911 would need to be called, what was I moaning about?! And if she didn't claim exemption, how dare I was thinking about getting out of this commitment!

Betsy and I spent the ensuing hours talking about life (how come our husbands have never been summoned?), health, politics, Homo Sapiens, tax dollars at work, trash pickup, and the royal birth while sipping delicious Courthouse coffee. At one point she asked if her left eye was beginning to close because that happens prior to fainting. Yikes! For different reasons, we nervously paced the hallway. Several hours later one of the deputies arrived like an angel and dismissed us. We presumed the parties had settled and a jury trial was no longer needed.

Betsy and I walked back to our cars proud of having done our civic duty, with pangs of regret at not seeing the inside of a court room, and relieved to get back a few hours of a gorgeous spring day. I am now done for three and a half years. But wait! A random sampling of the jurors on this day leads me to believe that jury selection may favor people who have been called once. Next time, I promise, not to be such a whiner or do anything drastic to get out of jury duty. That was my lesson from Betsy.

(The site where this blog is hosted has a bug that is causing photos to appear as thumbnails when viewing on mobile devices.}

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