Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A jury of my peers

I had jury today, after deferring it for a decade.

I am deeply resentful, for a number of reasons, mostly because it is the first day of school, my most busy time, and I need to be at work.

I am needed at work.

I also need the money I am missing because of this "service".

They are paying me $35, for the 16 hours I am missing...

I don't make a lot of money, but I do make more than that.

There is a chance I will be selected tomorrow for a grand jury, which could be a month or more.

That would just about break me.

I mean, who can miss a month's work? 

My day started last night at 10:00pm when the sub that was to cover for the teacher, that can't start because she has to give notice at her old job , went into labor, a month early. 

After multiple sub arrangements and detailed instructions were issued, my phone started ringing at 6:00am this morning, as I showered,with folks calling in sick.  

I made coffee, I packed a bag.  

I forgot food.  

I remembered a book.  

A thriller.

I walked into the cusp of autumnal morning, to catch the #9 downtown, at 7:01am.   

The bus with all of Portland's great unwashed, was already crowded. 

A lady with a giant suitcase, polar-fleece pullover and a woolen cap, stood across from me.  I wonder if she was coming from the airport, or just moving? 

Overly made up teenaged girls, chatted loudly, a man sat very close to me, with a recently extinguished cigarette, in his hand.  

It stank, the way, they do, that smoldery kind of stink.   

I felt relieved to be at a place in my life where smoking a second hand cigarette is not part of my agenda. 

At 39th and Powell, a man with a less huge suitcase, and a collection of bags and totes got on.  

He bumped his way down the aisle and chatted gayly with the lady with the giant suitcase.  

He coveted her bag, and she was flattered.  

People warmed to this man and made small talk.  

A fellow dressed all in red and black, with Blazer's logos, told him of a mean man that had told him to 
"Shut the fuck up" last week.   

His feelings had been badly hurt, by these unkind words, and the man with the bags, offered outraged comfort.  

I felt out of place, like I was intruding on a private conversation.  

A private bus party, for people that need a bit of kindness.

As we entered downtown, my boss called me for clarification on the plan, which prompted me to get OFF the bus way to early and wander down the street explaining and explaining.

I found the court house, waited in the security line, removing my shoes, cursing the state of our country, all the while and took my seat in a great sea of people, sweaty, stressed and pissed off, doing my civic duty .

We sat idly, together, until 5:00pm.

I sat next to a big, fellow, wearing construction worker clothing.

He talked on his phone about drywall.

He talked about burying a pipe.

He talked about mudding. 

He had a shaved head and very tan forearms.

He was very polite, and kept to his side of the armrest. 

I would be delighted to sit next to him on an airplane, and chat about plumbing and mud, and drywall.

We took breaks and ate terrible sandwiches, with limp lettuce.

The sandwich vendor was blind.

Her terrible, prefab sandwiches reminded me of the time my college boyfriend worked for "grannies sannies", making those terrible kind of sandwiches for minimum wage.

It was like a low class Proust moment.

Turkey on white, instead of madeleines. 

She had an eye condition I remember from my work for the eye surgeon.

The thing, where you basically don't have eyeballs.

It looks terrible, but this lady, mercifully, could not see that people were turning away in disgust, and she gave remarkable customer service.

Much faster with the lattes than the slacker at Starbucks.

I am dazzled by her waitressing skill.

I felt humble and blessed by my own scratchy,allergic sighted eyes. 

She asked me cash or charge, and I foolishly said charge, then handed her two fives, like an inconsiderate asshole.

The women in the group stood in long lines to pee, in a dimly lit restroom, with two broken toilets.

I ate a bag of barbecue chips, from a vending machine.

They were fabulous. 

I found a copy of a Michael Chabon collection of short stories and hope to read a bit of it tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. HOLY FUCK, Heidi. You deserve a medal. I'm not certain of the category but many are springing to mind. Endurance?