For the first time in my life, I fulfilled my civic duty acting as a standby juror.

At the end of last week, I drove to the suburbs to report for jury duty at the Cook County court. Unexpectedly, the day turned out to be interesting and a welcome break from my normal routine. Lately, I’ve been so busy with work and my crazy schedule. The jolt out of my usual environment gave me some space to take a good look at the world around me.

The things I learned from my day of jury duty:

1. The county court website warned that “jurors may not bring cameras, walkmans or radios.” Smart phones and mp3 players seem to be readily permitted. I wonder if their rule will be updated when their nomenclature is.

2. Vending machine coffee is not trashy-good like Little Debbie treats. It’s just not good at all. Though watching the cup drop down and hearing the machine whir and clunk as it fills your cup is somewhat satisfying, the drink it produces is not.

3. A jury duty waiting room as a great place to catch up on 2 year old gossip via 2010 US Weekly issues.

4. There IS still a payphone left in the world. It’s located in the jury duty snack room.

5. Daytime tv is bad. Really bad.

6. The provided quiet rooms at jury duty might be the best thing that ever happened to your work productivity, especially if you need to get some writing done.

7. Vending machine candy bars cost $.90 these days. And, I have been so spoiled by my great fortune to work with Vosges Haut-Chocolat for many years that lesser bars no longer tastes like chocolate to me.

7. The county court attorneys do not look like the lawyers in the movies.

8. Even brides getting married at the court desire a white dress and a bouquet.

9. The $17.20 I was paid for the day more than covered the cost of my lunch, which thanks to Rick Bayless, was one of the best sandwiches I had ever eaten in my life. (pictured above: Cochinita Pibil Torta from Frontera Fresco. Roasted pulled pork with garlic-achiote, black beans, pickled red onions, served with haberno hot sauce.)

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11 Responses to “What I Learned at Jury Duty”

  1. Becca Says:

    That sandwich!! That thing truly looks and sounds life-changing.

  2. Susan Says:

    The sandwich looks great! In NJ we only get $5.00 for jury duty which doesn’t even cover the cost of lunch.

  3. Maria Says:

    How’d you get Rick Bayless to feed you at jury duty??? Obviously, you weren’t in Skokie!

  4. June g. Says:

    Lol! Walkman;) this gave me a giggle:)

  5. carlene Says:

    Totally in Skokie! They have a really great salad there, too.

  6. Kathy Says:

    Your first time?!?!?! Motherscratcher! I get called every 4 years like clockwork and get the glamorous locations like Rolling Meadows and somewhere around Oak Park. Those places are dumps. At criminal court once, the judge YELLED at me when I honestly said I wasn’t 100% sure, as the victim of a violent crime, that I could remain completely objective and not let my personal experience influence my decision. That was a joy.

  7. Tara Noland Says:

    I nominated you for a ‘Very Inspiring Blogger’ award. Come and see at Congratulations!!!

  8. Cat Says:

    Was asked who didn’t go to church each week by defendant’s attorney and why not? Told them I was agnostic. Asked then how could I possibly swear to tell the truth by swearing so help me god in court and was then lying to the court and in contempt of court by pretending to swear to tell the truth so help me god? Got into debate on my ability to adhere to behaving as a civilized human being who can do the right thing and that I follow the rules of jewish/christian religions and yet weirdly was still put on the jury. But then no one and I mean no one on the jury would look me in the eye or talk to me, and one man literally glared at me for a week and a half at all times and when I spoke he literally refused to acknowledge what I said and just glared at me. Scary stuff jury duty. I learned a lot about being in the midwest on jury duty, wish I had a nifty sandwich to soothe my pain and anguish away

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