Have you guys ever been called for jury duty? How many times? Have you ever actually served on a jury?
I'm guessing that, for most of you, the answer is something like: Yes; 2-3 times depending on your age; No.
My answers are: Yes; ten times; twice.
I was called for jury duty twice in New Jersey. Once, I went, was picked, and served on a jury during an attempted murder trial. It was kind of exciting. I was by far the youngest person on the jury. By, like, 50 years. Then I got called again in New Jersey a few years later, but I got out of that notice because I was by that point an official resident of Baltimore, and already getting more than my fair share of notices here.
For instance, here's the SEVENTH Baltimore City jury notice I've received during my seven years of residence here:
Oh, and here's my eighth notice. It arrived four weeks after the seventh one:
That's right, these notices arrived one month apart. Come on, I KNOW that's not normal. Also, I am pretty sure it's not legal. You're limited to serving once per year, or once every three years if you actually get stuck on a case that lasts more than three days. I finally figured out what the problem is: I'm now getting notices both under my maiden name AND my married name.
Now, I'm all for civic duty. Or, at least I was, back when I got picked for my first Baltimore City jury. And then I sat through the most ridiculous trial ever, where the defense lawyer would lose his train of thought halfway through a question, where the prosecutor would ask witnesses the same exact question three or four times hoping they'd change their answer, and where I had to sit in a room with eleven of the stupidest people I've ever come into contact with for two days. As in, one day short of the three days that would have at least bought me two additional years of not having to deal with this shit. On the first day we were there until almost 10pm. It was easily one of the most soul-crushing experiences in my life. You guys, people are DUMB. Like, unable to form coherent sentences dumb. And these people are in charge of deciding whether other people go to jail or not! I cannot deal. No. Never again. It made me so sad and angry that I thought I was going to pass out right there in the crappy jury room. Or maybe that was just the low blood sugar, since we were stuck there until almost ten at night with no dinner. It was a super time all around.
Ever since I showed up for that trial (which was riiiight before I started this blog, and I remember thinking "I should have a blog, because these are some good stories right here) I have been getting jury duty notices like clockwork. One per year. And now, I'm getting one per year for both my unmarried and married selves.
I called up the number on the notice to remedy this situation, because that would seem to be the thing to do, right? Well, first of all, the person I spoke with made sure to tell me right up front that these duplicate notices are not the city's fault, no sir, because they "have no way of knowing that Jennifer MaidenName and Jennifer MarriedName are the same person". Oh, really? The identical address and date of birth aren't a hint? How about the fact that I filed a legal notice of name change at the DMV (actually, they call it an MVA here) almost two years ago? Don't you guys pull your records from the DMV? Whatever. I said none of this, of course. Instead, I politely asked if they could delete one of the records from their system.
No, she told me. You need to come in for your next jury service, and bring your marriage certificate with you and we'll change it them.
OK... but should I come to the January 27th or the March 2nd date, then?
OK... but what if my number isn't called for January 27th? Do I have to come in for March 2nd then?
SIDEBAR! Each notice is issued a number from 001-999, at the end of the summons number. The day before you're scheduled for jury duty, you call a number and listen to a very long recording, and at the very, very end of the recording -- after the parking info, directions, hours of operation and detailed information on how you must wear clothes that 1) have been washed somewhat recently and 2) cover your body -- they give you the numbers that actually need to show up the next day. It's always 001-something. Usually around 001-600 or 001-700, depending on how many people have been murdering each other lately. So if your number is higher than 700, there's a good chance you might not have to go. You'll notice my number for January 27th is a golden 901. On March 2nd I have 320. 320 is not good. The mere fact that I know these things just goes to show you: I get too many damn jury duty notices.
No, the January 27th notice is the one on your real jury service record [phew]. If you don't get called for January 27th, call us back and we'll give you the fax number. You can fax in your marriage certificate and we'll fix the records.
Can't you just give me the fax number... now?
[Exit stage left, with moderate pounding of heads against desks]
Normally Joel would land himself in the doghouse for comparing me to a 700-lb sea lion, but even I have to admit that this is an startlingly accurate re-enactment of a scene that plays out at least once a night in our house.
Yep, I'm pretty sure that's exactly how I look when Henry the Cat jumps directly on my bladder every night as he completes his nightly patrol across the bed. He may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he never misses a landing.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?I have fallen out of the habit of making real resolutions because I didn't really like the pressure I put on myself to achieve each and every one of them. Since one of my resolutions several years running was to be less hard on myself, I'd say that means yes, yes I did keep my resolutions.
I did informally resolve to go to yoga more this year, meaning I wanted to clock at least 53 classes during 2010. Going once a week has been my norm for several years and it's pretty easy to fit in one class on the weekends, but it gets tricky when we go out of town or have company and I then have to try to "make up" the missed class. In 2009 I just barely squeaked out 52 classes, thanks to the month I took off for the wedding/honeymoon, the three weeks I was incapacitated after my knee surgery, and the ridiculous amount of traveling I did for work, my brother's wedding and related activities, my wedding shower/bachelorette party, friends' weddings... etc. Anyway, this year was much calmer on the travel and wedding side, and I clocked in 64 classes. I'm quite proud! I am signed up for a teacher training course that starts in February, and the course requires that I go to three classes per week (OMG) so next year's tally will be even higher.
I also kind of resolved to lose some of the extra weight I'd been carrying and get into better shape, and I'd say I did fairly well at that. The last time I weighed in at the gym I'd lost a total of about 6-7 lbs. Sadly, that weigh-in was almost a month ago and I haven't been to the gym since then. I have no good reason other than I just never feel like going, even though the damn gym is right in my office building now.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, the newly pregnant friend mentioned in last year's survey gave birth to an adorable baby boy!
4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully, no, but I am a little afraid that Madison's name will be in this space next year. The old badger is not looking so good lately, and by that I mean he is looking even worse than usual. He's due for his annual vet visit this month which should be a rocking good time, as always.
5. What countries did you visit?This is the first year in a good long while that has not seen a stamp on the old passport. We did go to Colorado for our anniversary in July, and we made a visit to Vermont in October... but other than that and several weekend/daytrips to New Jersey, we pretty much stayed put.
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? A new job for Joel, complete with a new location for us.
7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April 2nd, my last day at my old job, and April 12, my start date at my new job.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting a new job; realizing that it is possible to not only not hate your job, but to actually like it.
9. What was your biggest failure? I'm really not sure.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I am getting really sick of listing my knee for this question. Guess who's back in physical therapy? THIS GIRL. My settlement had better be very large is all I'm saying.
11. What was the best thing you bought? I'm having trouble coming up with something for this question, possibly because we tried really, really hard to put as much money into savings as possible this year. I did buy this pursein August and I love it, like, a lot. The Groupon for 5 Bikram yoga classes for $20 was an excellent purchase, and we've been getting a lot of mileage out of our Netflix via Xbox live acount as well.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Same answer as last year: Joel's. I would be lost without him.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Appalled: People who cannot shut the hell up in the movies. Depressed: Apostrophe abusers.
14. Where did most of your money go? The mortgage was far and away our biggest expense this year.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Quitting my old job. I miss certain things, most notably my old coworkers, but on the whole I am so, so, SO happy to be free of that place.
16. What song will always remind you of 2010? Zero, by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Help I'm Alive and Stadium Love by Metric.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) Happier or Sadder? Happier. (b) Thinner or Fatter? Thinner. (c) Richer or Poorer? Richer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Hiking. Writing.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Sitting around wondering what we should do on the weekends.
20. How did you spend Christmas in 2010? Christmas kind of blended in with the rest of my week-long vacation this year, which is just fine with me. We stayed home, slept in, watched Scrooged (which I'd never seen before) and then I screwed up our Christmas Ham (which was actually a shoulder roast, but whatever) but it turned out delicious anyway. Christmas was lovely.
21. Did you fall in love in 2010? With Raylan Givens, yes.
22. What was your favorite TV program? Justified. Walking Dead is a close second.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Every single one of the stupid hooligans that ruined a movie for me this year by yelling through the whole damn thing.
24. What was the best book you read? I didn't have a standout best book this year, but here are the books I really enjoyed:
The Town. Even though this movie was totally ruined for me, once again, by loud punk-ass kids in the theater. At the 2pm showing. IS NOTHING SACRED.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 29, and I cannot remember for the life of me what I did.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having more than one closet and a dedicated parking space.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? Jeans, Jcrew tshirt, hoodie and Privos.
32. What kept you sane? Quitting my old job. This is getting a little repetitive, but I don't know how much longer I was going to survive in that basement dungeon.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Tie, between Timothy Olyphant and Georges St-Pierre. Did I mention that not only did I get totally into Ultimate Fighter this past season, but we went to watch the pay-per-view finale? At a sports bar? I never thought I would care about a sporting event -- let alone a fighting sport -- in my life. But between my love for polite, Canadian Georges and my burning hatred for Josh Koscheck, I was no-shit nervous about the outcome of that fight. (Georges won!)
34. What political issue stirred you the most? Ugh, I don't know. I hate politics. I am pretty psyched about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, though. I hope one day my kids will be unable to believe that such a stupid policy was ever real.
35. Who did you miss? My two best friends, who live way too far away.