Friday, December 7, 2012
First off, I have to put the damn notice someplace where I can't miss it. (They seem to arrive about a month ahead of the actually date you have to deal with.) In my house, that can be tricky.
My dog Zoe grabs things off of tables and counter tops and eats them. My husband puts things "somewhere safe" (meaning somewhere where the item will never be seen again in this lifetime). I write reminders all over calendars, but then I don't look at the calendar for weeks at a time. My bad.
Remembering to check in after 5:00 PM the evening before the summons is also hinky. Don't these people realize that 5:00 PM is the cocktail hour? After two Bombay Sapphire martinis, I can't read the "juror number group" they are going to ask me for. Why can't they put the time at say 4:00 PM? I seldom hit the sauce before 5:00.
I called the number at 5:00 PM the night before. I was told to appear at the courthouse in Oakland at 9:00 AM the next morning. Double Damn! We have a nice little courthouse right here in Alameda. Why can't they just send me there? We actually have a pretty low crime rate in Alameda. I think that we have had 4 murders in 25 years or something like that. You guys read the headlines. Oakland has murders (plural) every hour, plus a wide assortment of robbers, rapists, arsonists, bad actors and gangsters. And why is it that police departments and courthouses are all located where gangster-looking and acting people hang out?
Also, I may have mentioned before I don't get up before 9:00 AM because most people die early in the morning according to a study I saw referenced someplace. If it's my time, I'd just as soon be in bed when it happens. There is no dignity in dying right on the damn kitchen floor with coffee spilled all around you. So, in other words, the Jury system wants me to risk my very life over this.
I got to the courthouse relatively and surprisingly unscathed. There is a long line out the door. I was worried sick I was going to be late. A Sheriff was telling everybody to take off all of their jewelry, belts, and stick them in the plastic bucket with purses, wallets, phones, lighters, lipsticks, compacts, keys and pocket change. Folks, I have a lot of jewelry. I need help taking it off. Realizing this was an absolute problem, I asked the Sheriff to assist me taking off my bracelets with tricky clasps. He advised me to just walk through the metal detector with my arms raised. Whew!
I made it just in time not to be late. After checking in, I sat in a plastic bucket seat for an hour while people straggled into the large room. Nobody talked. The man next to me slept. When he woke up, I asked him how he got his shoes so shiny. The man told me he polished them himself. I said "Wow!" Then he went back to sleep.
After an hour, the person in charge read off a long list of names and told those people to go upstairs to Courtroom Number 5. I sat in that plastic chair for another half hour before we were told we could leave.
And what's with all the plastic stuff in courthouses? Plastic buckets? Plastic chairs?
I hate jury duty.
Monday, December 3, 2012
People who know me well would not be surprised because having a man or two in my tree is generally my idea of a fun time.
Our big old oak tree needed her skirt lifted and a haircut to let the light in. She was becoming a tad gloomy. At 80 years old or so, I understand how that can happen. Her leaves were growing so low that they tangled in my hair as I walked up the path to my house.
Getting her skirt lifted has made her feel downright perky again. The sun started peeking through her branches as they cut her back a bit. Plus, she's no longer growing into the upper floor of our home.
She was tended to this afternoon by 8 handsome young Mexican men. They sang to her, gently trimmed her up nice and pretty, and took the dead branches off of her. They disposed of all of her debris in a very respectful way.
After their loving tending, the guys stood across the street to admire her with big smiles on their faces. As they cleaned up, I could hear some serenading in Spanish.
I took the young men out a bucket full of ice cold beers. Their big smiles at my "tip" made my heart sing.