So, yesterday Terry and I headed into Edinburgh to meet up with my Shiny colleague Erin and her fiance Dave for food and, of course, shopping. I so wish I’d thought to take a picture of the expressions on Terry and Dave’s faces as they watched Erin and I worship at the shrine of Chloe and Christian Louboutin (Harvey Nichols) – the poor souls were quite bemused by how very fascinating bags and shoes can be, and this is because men? Are mad.

Anyway, we had a lovely time, and now Erin and Dave are off to live in Australia. (They had planned to do this anyway, I should add: they didn’t just decided to move to the other side of the world after meeting me and Terry. Or I don’t think they did, anyway…) I, meanwhile, returned home, went to bed and prepared to sit back and enjoy Thursday, which was to be the first lie-in of the Christmas holidays. Not the word "was", here, however. This morning I did not get to sleep late. Why, I hear you ask, almost as if you care? Well, because this morning the postman woke us up at EIGHT O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING with a COURT SUMMONS for me. Me!

Actually, it wasn’t a real court summons. I just said that because I’m all about the drama. It was a summons to appear in court, though – but as a juror. Damn. Remember way back in the summer when I got the letter saying that I’d one day be called for jury duty? And my lawyer (for yes, I have a lawyer. It’s in case I am bad) was all "Pshaw, you will totally not get called – they’re just jerkin’ ya!"?*  Well I got called. I’m supposed to report for duty on January 22nd, and actually? I’m kind of crapping myself right about now. I mean, hello, self employed over here! Who will do my work while I am "sequestered"? (Answer: no one will. I just won’t get paid for weeks, and the house will be repossessed and we will have to live on the street in a cardboard box, and OMG I think I’m having a panic attack!)

Also: what if it turns out to be like the OJ trial, and we are totally stuck there for months, and I have to miss my wedding AND my honeymoon (not, you understand, that I will be able to have a honeymoon anyway if I have to do jury service – apparently most people serve for two weeks, which would mean a total of four weeks without work between January and April.) and the family of The Accused start stalking me and threatening me, and then they follow me home one night and kill me because I got their "boy" sent down? WHAT IF, people?

No, I just can’t stand it. I have already written a letter begging to be let off, and the letter, it is three pages long. That’s a LOT of begging, let me tell you. I feel kind of dirty now. Note: no one comment here saying, "Oh, but you could totally write a book about the whole fascinating experience, Amber, because you’re all about writing books!" There will be no book. Nuh-uh. (Although I am thinking of pitching my "JURY DUTY RUINED MY LIFE!" story to some of the women’s magazines. I bet they will totally buy it, and my career will be saved! Maybe the wedding mags would like to commission me for "JURY DUTY RUINED MY WEDDING!" too? Hmmmm…) No, there will be no book, and also: I’ve already experienced the whole court thing as a reporter. That was "fascinating" enough for me, and by "fascinating" I mean, "It was actually quite interesting, but it was mostly like waiting for a bus, only you’re waiting in a courtroom, and the bus is really, really late, and when it finally turns up it has criminals on board who look like they will probably spit on you if you make eye contact with them." Honestly, I’ll pass on that kind of "interesting", thanks all the same…

Also, while we’re on the subject, no one comment saying, "But you MUST do jury duty, it’s your civic duty!" either, because I just don’t buy it. The whole "tried by a jury of your peers" thing has one huge, fatal flaw as far as I’m concerned and that flaw is the assumption that your peers are all intelligent, reasonable people. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not true, folks. I am neither reasonable or particularly intelligent, and actually? I don’t really like my peers – especially the ones that live in my street. (Yes, you with the car-stereo-used-as-a-boom-box, I am talking about you. Gee, hope you’re not up in court on the 22nd by any chance, are you?) I mean, if I ever had to appear in court and stepped into the dock only to see myself sitting in the jury box, I’d be VERY afraid. (Not least because that would mean I’d somehow managed to split myself into two separate entities.) And actually, I can think of DOZENS of my peers who should never sit on a jury. (Peers who are reading this right now: I’m talking about my other peers, not you. You would be great on a jury! Hey, are you doing anything at the end of January?) DOZENS. And I bet they wouldn’t want me standing in judgment of them, either especially if they’re the type of people who play loud music from their cars, because I hate that. I’d convict them for that right away. Even if it wasn’t the reason they were in court…

So, yes, that was my morning: frittered away writing a three page letter and whining unattractively to Terry. Things did get better in the afternoon, though, when I went to the sales and bought shoes which I can’t really afford. At least I’ll be wearing nice shoes when I’m sent down for contempt of court…

* Note: not what he actually said

  1. I live in the U.S. so I don’t know how our jury systems differ. However, I felt the same way as you the first time I had jury duty. (I’ve had jury duty four times, with the last one serving on a grand jury.) Apparently the lawyers liked what they heard when they interviewed me and I was called as a juror for a shoplifting trial. I was amazed at how much time was spent as the lawyers argued over what the jurors should hear and what they shouldn’t. But the whole situation turned out to be very interesting and I’m glad I was there. I was next interviewed for a drunk driving arrest. I got mouthy in my interview this time, mentioning how the lawyers were so busy arguing that everything took too long. To my amazement, this got laughs and I was chosen to be a juror again. (I was also dressed like a surfer bum. So apparently they don’t care about what you wear.) I’ll spare you the details of the other trials, but to make a short story really long, jury duty is a fascinating experience and a true insight into what makes a democracy. (I use that term loosely as we have a tyrant for a president right now.) Don’t be afraid. Let them know of your marriage plans and they will probably accommodate you. P.S. My English bulldog Lulah would really appreciate it if terrifyingly wolf- like Rubinman would update more often. She may be in love with him especially now that he’s shown his “good stuff.” Thanks.

  2. Diane – gold star, I didn’t think anyone would get the reference 🙂

    Mindy – Oh, I’m not afraid of actually *doing* jury service: I’m afraid of not being able to pay my mortgage if I’m forced to be out of work for two weeks or longer. As I said in my post, I used to be a reporter and part of the job involved court reporting, so I’ve actually seen quite a few trials (I haven’t been on a jury, obviously, but I know how the courts work) – more than enough for me not to need to see any more, anyway!

  3. A few days ago I tried to send an apology for my posting. It has not appeared on your site so either, A: I screwed up again or B: you did not want to post my apology. It’s probably A. Anyway the gist of my apology was that I had a New Years resolution not to post un-asked for advice on the internet under the influence of wine. I am so sorry.

  4. Hey, Mindy – God, don’t worry, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for! I’ve not had any comments for you (they’re all published automatically), so I think Typepad must have been being bad or something. Anyway, advice is always good (as is wine :))!

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