So I made it. (Read part one if you have no idea what I am talking about)
I parked the car, grabbed my bag and walked through security. The guard told me that jury duty was upstairs. I walked the flight of stairs and turned to see over eighty people in line. My first thought was ugh, I definitely could have gone back to get my laptop after I stopped for gas. My second thought was I could have worn pajamas. Not like Monica pajamas
(Do people actually wear those kind of pjs?) but more like sweatpants and a t-shirt. I was thinking anyway I should write a blog on what people wear to bed because I am unsure how the lingerie business does so well. But maybe that is me.
Anyway, I got on line to await my sentence for the day. People kept strolling in and I was so annoyed that I stressed getting there at 8:15. I could have fully walked in the door at 8:30/45 and it would have been perfectly acceptable. I guess you live and learn. If you haven’t had the chance to serve yet in Newark, now you know. Don’t rush.
I finally got to the front of the line and the woman behind the counter told me I needed to wait in Room A and she pointed to where I should validate my parking ticket. I looked at the machine which was so old school, looked at the ticket and had no clue which side I was supposed to put in the ticket. The instructions were not clear so I guessed and pulled down the lever. I had a feeling I did it wrong but it was so crowded I had no idea who I was asking. I felt like if I cut the line and asked the woman behind the desk to show me how to do it, the people in line would have lost it on me. It just wasn’t worth it.
I walked into Room A and sat down. The room was huge and there were A LOT of people there. Since I only served jury duty in NYC (well I went for a minute and got excused) I had no idea what the process was in Newark. This 800 pound woman sat down next to me and pulls out her breakfast. I almost fell over. Frozen yogurt. I mean I guess it could have been MUCH worse but who eats frozen yogurt for breakfast? Where did she even buy that at 8am?
It is 8:40am. FINALLY at 9am a man walked in the room and explained that we were now going to watch a video to explain jury duty and what to expect. Great I was now back in 5th grade. The video began in the jury assembly room, explaining our rights and privileges under the jury system. This was sort of a guilt trip explaining that most people do not want to attend jury duty but why we should. I agreed with him but didn’t really want to admit it.
After the video, the same man walked back into the room to go over the logistical nuts and bolts of jury service. Now I was ready. Since it was petit jury I knew it would not be some off the hook psycho case but I was ready to give it a whirl. The man told us if there was anyone in the room who had to leave early to pick up their kids from school, child care, etc to please speak up now. They would be excused for the day but would still have to come back to do their time. Two people spoke up. OKAY WHAT? You mean to tell me that these two people woke up at the crack, got their kids to school and drove to Newark KNOWING they would have to leave early? Why? If I knew that I had to pick up Zach and Parker at school at 2:40pm and could not find alternate plans for them, I would have postponed it. Why in the world show up? Is it me?
The man explained that we were free to go in the computer room with wifi, Room C – ESPN room, Room A – CNN room or grab some free coffee or tea in the lounge:
For one year out of my life I sold coffee and high-end coffee machines to places like the Essex County Court house, car dealerships, etc. All I can say is that the courthouse must spend a FORTUNE on coffee. I was shocked it was free.
I had no desire to sit in the ESPN room because, between you and me, the only sport I LOVE watching is basketball. Huge Knicks fan. HUGE. But there definitely wasn’t a Knicks game on at 9am. The thought of walking into the CNN room with one hundred people I didn’t know discussing world events and politics was the LAST thing I wanted to do. Not only am I not smart enough to discuss ISIS, I would much rather spend the hour watching RHONJ (real housewives of NJ). At least I could laugh.
He also explained we had 1 hour and 30 minutes for lunch but we must be back at 1:30 on the nose. 1 HOUR AND 30 MINUTES!!! My first thought was to run home. An hour and half for lunch was crazy. I could get a manicure, eat lunch and still be back. But I wasn’t chancing it. Knowing me I would be driving back to Newark, there would be some awful accident and I would be stuck on the highway while my name was being called over the loud-speaker. I would suck it up and chill in Newark. With that settled in my mind, I decided to hang in the computer room with my Ipad and cell phone surrounded by laptops waiting to hear my name. As I began to search for where to eat lunch I got a Facebook message from a friend who knows every restaurant inside and out of New Jersey. He told me Jews with jury duty go to Hobby’s. Great, settled. I had matzoh ball soup to look forward to soon.
An hour passed and not ONE SINGLE NAME was called over the loudspeaker. I had this awful feeling I was in the wrong room and I missed my name. I asked the person next to me if petit jurors were allowed to be in this room. He looked at me and said point-blank “No.” I ran out to the front desk and asked if my name was called because the man next to me in the computer room told me was I was in the wrong room. The woman looked up and said , “You should never listen to anyone else at jury duty.” I laughed and she asked me to give her my badge number. She told me my name wasn’t called and I could go back to the computer room. I then asked if anybody’s name was called to which she said only Grand Jurors had been called. Weird, but okay.
I walked back into the computer room, told the guy next to me he gave me false information( I felt like he should know) and sat back down. An hour after reading the entire Internet, it was time for lunch. I put the address in google maps and saw it was only a 1/2 mile away. I left the courthouse and journeyed over to Hobby’s. I will be completely upfront and honest with you, I was nervous. I know it was the middle of the day and I know it was ridiculous to think something would happen to me walking 1/2 mile to a restaurant but there was some weird shit going on. First of all, I walked past a prep school with 50 kids at recess. The second I walked by a herd of 14-year-old black girls ran to the gate and start screaming at me (yes I know it is me because there was NOBODY ELSE on the street), “WORK IT GIRL, WORK, YEAH WORK.” Now normally I would have turned around and said “yeah, I will.” But I had visions of them climbing over the gate and beating the shit out of me so I kept on walking.
Secondly, I then heard a voice on a speaker telling the entire street about a store that buys Gold at the best price in Newark. It was so loud I am surprised you couldn’t hear it from your house. The speaker was taking over the streets of Newark. I had no idea where it was coming from until I noticed this: Um, is that legal? You are allowed to hook up a mega watt speaker to your car and blast it to the world advertising your business? If that is true I am going back to Newark on Monday to blast out to the entire city about my 21 Day Fix group and why they should join. NO MORE Mc’DONALD’S, NO MORE BURGER KING. EAT CLEAN. LOSE WEIGHT. JOIN TODAY. STARTING DECEMBER 1ST. JUST 4 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS YOU WILL BE IN THE BEST SHAPE EVER UNDER $200! Think I will get any takers?
Lastly, the men outside the Barber shop drinking 40’s at 12pm staring at my ass as I walked by. Ugh. Worst feeling ever. I mean I know it is big but no reason to point it out. Unlike Kardashian, I am trying to lose the ass.
I FINALLY walked into Hobby’s and I felt at home. Hobby’s reminded me of an institution my parents took me to growing up in Northeast Philly. I decided to sit down and eat lunch by myself. How else was I going to kill an hour and change? I certainly wasn’t going to start walking the streets of Newark. Lunch was perfect.
I headed back to the courthouse when I finished eating and managed to reclaim the same seat I was sitting in before I left. Do you do that? Something about sitting in the same seat feels right. It was now 1:30 and not a single soul had been called. WHY? All of a sudden over the speaker I heard the man (who gave us the presentation in the beginning) say that he was sorry for the slow morning but there was an issue in the court room, the judge was MIA and things will be back to normal in a little while. Sit tight.
Okay. I went back to surfing the web until I heard this noise in my ear. You know that sound of somebody crunching on a pickle or potato chips but with their mouth closed? I can’t really explain it other than if you know what I am talking about you know how ANNOYING that sound is. Well, there was a woman sitting next to me eating this sandwich that must have had either 20 potato chips in it or a jar of pickles. The sound was driving me insane. The worst part was she would take a bite, do some work, take a bite, do some work, etc. It took her (not kidding) thirty minutes to eat one half of the sandwich. You are probably thinking, why didn’t I just move my seat. Truth is there was nowhere to go. All the seats were taken plus I told you I have this weird thing with sitting in the same seat. So this was her:
Moral of the story: Bring headphones. Just loud enough to block out your neighbors but low enough to hear the loud-speaker in case you get called.
At 3pm, I was starting to lose my shit. I had been there seven hours and not a single person had been called. WTF. Just as I was about to get up and go to the front desk to see what the story was, the man over the loud-speaker comes on again. All I was thinking was if he calls my name at 3:10 this is just insanity. He didn’t.
He said, “Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, I know it has been a quiet day. Fortunately for you jury duty is now over and you do not have to come back tomorrow.”
You must be kidding me. Can you believe it? 7 hours for what? I kept telling myself to look at the bright side.
1. I didn’t have to get called back for three more years
2. I could have been called as a juror on a case and then I would really have been screwed
3. I just got my entire Friday back (phew because I had two appointments that I had not yet cancelled in the hopes I only had to serve one day)
4. I got to tell you this ridiculous story about how I wasted 7 hours of my day in Newark.
As I was leaving I walked back to the counter to make sure I did my parking ticket correctly. So happy I checked because I absolutely did it wrong. I knew it. With that fixed, I hopped back in my car, got home in no time and checked jury duty off my list (at least for now).
I wish I could have told you more about the court room and the crazy people who try to get out of being a juror but as you can see I just never got that far.
Thank fucking g-d.