Jury Duty

The alarm clock goes off at 5:15AM. I look at the alarm clock not sure I want to get up yet. I turn off the alarm and continue laying there for a few moments and say “Good Morning, God!” and pray for a moment. I love starting the first part of my day with God.

I get up after a few moments. It is the day I had been a little nervous about for a couple of days now. Jury Duty.

I set my book by my chair so I won’t forget to take it with me.

I go to the restroom, get dressed, brush my teeth, gather everything I’m going to take with me. You know all the normal stuff of getting ready in the morning.

I sit down and read my morning devotion and pray for a few moments. Then I finish gathering my things and head down to the car.

At this point it really isn’t that much different from most mornings getting ready for work.

But this morning I’m headed in a different direction. Downtown and the courthouse.

I’m a little nervous about driving in downtown by myself and going to a new place, where I don’t know the procedure or what’s going to happen.

I have had to report for jury duty before, but it was in a small town in Oklahoma. Here in a big metro area I really don’t know what to expect and it feels so different.

God reminds me that I’m not going alone and that He is with me, which helps me to be a little more at ease. So I start the journey. I put the address in the GPS & off I go. Traffic is not the greatest. There’s a bit of a back up, but it’s not too bad. I get there with no real issue. I try going into the parking garage one way, but the ticket booth is out of order. Another person pulls up behind me. I tell her it is out of order. She backs out. Then I back out and go around to another entrance. The other entrance works and I easily find a spot close to the elevator. Yay!

I am parked by 6:30AM. I like to be early, so this is good. I’m not going to be able to get in the building for at least another hour. I sit there and eat my breakfast that I brought with me, an egg salad. I get caught up on Facebook & read a blog. I read my Bible a little. I make sure all of my papers & things I need to take with me are in order. I sit there and just breathe for a few minutes.

I decide to go down around 7:20AM. I go down one of four elevators to street level & cross the street. I pass the cafe on the corner and walk up to the massive courthouse building that is front of me. Security sees my juror postcard and lets me know they aren’t letting jurors into the building until 7:30AM, which is earlier than the recording said last night. So I stand outside and wait. It is very nice this morning. There are trees in front of the building, which make it a nice little area to stand. There are a few people that are also early. We’re all standing or pacing around waiting.

At 7:30AM, security comes and calls us to go to security. I walk through the roped off pathway. I put my bag on the conveyor belt & go through the metal detector. I get my bag & I am directed to the double doors on the left. I start walking, then pause for a moment to get my parking pass out of my bag after seeing a sign to have it ready.

Inside the room is a smiling face waiting to check us in. I handed her my postcard & my parking pass. She takes the card, validates my parking, & gives me back the parking pass with another paper to fill out. She kindly gives directions to me and another juror to grab a clipboard and go to the assembly room that is around the corner behind the wall behind the desk. I grab a clipboard on my way around the corner. Upon entering the room I notice rows of blue theater seats facing a podium and several TV screens playing a nature video. I find a chair and sit down to fill out the information. The pen attached to the clipboard doesn’t work and I forgot to put a pen in my bag, so I get up and get a new clipboard. I test out the pen before going back to my seat and it works, so I go back to my seat and fill out the information. I take the clipboard back to its place and sit back down. Orientation will begin at 8:05AM, so I have a little time.

I look around. I see a lounge area, which looks like a small break room to my right with clear glass walls. There are computers on the left wall for browsing the internet. I also notice the restrooms next to the lounge area. I decide to go to the restroom and take care of that before we get started. On the way, I notice the reading room, which I was informed they had on the recording yesterday. I came prepared with a book. I’m kind of excited about getting to spend some time reading in a quiet room. There are also some lockers in the hall by the reading room.  This is really a nice facility.

After the ladies room, I go back to the assembly room and await orientation to start. The lizard in the desert on the nature video, who switches what feet he’s standing on to cool them off, is kind of funny.

At 8:05AM, the nature video stops & they start an orientation video that tells us all about jury duty. Then the smiling face that checked me in comes to the podium and tells us about what to expect and what we are allowed to do. We are free to take whatever breaks we want, when not in court. We are free to use all the rooms that I’ve mentioned above. We can even leave the building briefly, if needed. She explains things in such a way that we are all at ease. Everyone was quiet and gave her their attention.

One of the judges comes in and thanks us for serving & briefly talks to us. She heads off to her job & the smiling face returns. She tells us there are 4 cases that need juries and once they are filled, we will be done, but to plan for all day. She gives us our next instructions, a couple of people ask questions, and she releases us to wait freely. I take my paper up to the desk, as instructed, keeping my receipt of appearance. Everyone is quietly going about their business.

I decide to go to the reading room.

Upon entering the reading room, I notice there are several rusty orange reading chairs to sit in and I pick one and get settled. I get out my book and set my bag on the table next to me. I look around. There is a table with chairs on one wall and a bookcase with magazines and jigsaw puzzles. There are also magazines on other small tables around. There are several others who have come in and are reading or on their computers at the tables. I decide to put my purse on the ground.

I start reading my book. I check my phone a few times. Making sure I’m also drinking some water. It was a nice quiet room. 🙂

About 9:50AM, I decide to take a break and go to the ladies room. As I go by the assembly room, I notice they are playing an Avengers movie on the screens.

After using the ladies room, I go back to the reading room to the same chair and continue reading and I pray for us to get done early and that everyone could go home.

About 10:40, we are all called back to the assembly room. We all go and find a seat there.

The smiling face comes back to the podium and tells us that all 4 cases have changed their plea and we are free to go.

On the way out they give us a survey to complete and mail back in. I step out into the lobby, step to the side, and get everything situated. I get my keys out and walk out the door next to security. It feels good to be done for the day.

I walk back past the cafe and across the street & take one of the elevators up to the 3rd level. I walk back to my car. I get in and get everything in its place. I get on the GPS to see what direction to take out of this downtown area of one way streets. I get my parking pass ready. I back out and drive to the exit. I give my validated parking pass to the attendant. He says thank you and sends me on my way.

I drive home. Traffic is pleasant, when it isn’t rush hour. I get home by 11:30AM. I set everything down & relax with my snack lunch that I had taken with me. I’m so glad it didn’t take all day.

The process was so easy & everyone was so friendly. I have had a blessed day and it’s only half over. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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