Who You Gonna Call? Jury Duty Adventures
Today was my first day of jury duty, the third time I have been called since moving to Birmingham. I was originally scheduled to go the week that Mom passed away, but thankfully, her doctor wrote an excuse for me so that I could reschedule and be with Mom. Now I get to enjoy the jury lalapalooza in all its glory…including experiencing a cross section of my Birmingham peeps.
The room was packed with potential jurors in the juror holding room by 9am this morning. What I have always loved about Birmingham is its diversity, and looking around the room, boy are we diverse. There were the gentlemen in suits from wealthy Mountain Brook, the ladies in skin-tight dresses and heels so high I didn’t see how they could walk in them, the sedate looking ladies dressed demurely, college professors, construction workers, nurses, lawyers, businessmen and women, homemakers, people of all shapes and sizes, all races and creeds. And there was a Ghostbuster in full regalia, I kid you not.
I had the best time watching peoples’ reaction to Ghostbuster Guy (who I later found was Kyle Stevens, who works at Target, but is part of a charitable organization called Birmingham Ghostbusters….I had no idea). People would look once, twice, and then would all-out stare. The lady sitting next to me tapped my shoulder and gestured at him to make sure I saw him, shaking her head and muttering under her breath about it taking “all kinds.” I also heard whisperings of “Boy, he found a surefire way to get out of serving!”, and “I ain’t afraid ‘a no summons!” Hey- at least he brought a diversion to the endless waiting.
Finally, they announced that the first group of thirty-six jurors were going to be called for a case in the Civil Court. Name after name was called, and then, “Denise Anne Gainey”….but of course. They kept calling names, and I had to smile as Ghostbuster Man was also called. This day was just getting better all the time. We were marched into the Civil Court after going through the metal detector (that always inspires confidence, doesn’t it?), and lined up into four groups before going into the courtroom.
We were each asked to give our names, where we lived, our occupations, our spouse’s name, and their occupation. It was really interesting to hear the different walks of life represented in the room, and again notice the diversity- not just of race, but of personalities. We were made up of outgoing people, shy people, young people, middle-aged people (sniff), older people (Mom said you have to say “older” instead of “old”), people who seemed to want the limelight to tell their stories, and those that barely said a word. I did enjoy watching the judge’s face when he noticed Ghostbuster Man, and when he finally said, “Okay, Mr. Stevens….I have to ask…” gesturing at the outlandish outfit. Kyle turned out to be a nice guy…just walking to the beat of a very different drummer.
After endless questions and lots of waiting (you know how television makes the courtroom seem so exciting and dramatic? Totally not the case. You could hear grass grow most of the time…) they finally announced the thirteen jury members who would hear the case. I was chosen, but Ghostbuster Man was struck. I now know what I need to do differently the next time I’m called. Maybe I’ll come as Bat Girl or Spider-Man. The possibilities are endless.
I can’t discuss the case until it is closed, but it should be interesting. It will have to be- without Ghostbuster Man, things just won’t be the same in the courtroom. But then again, maybe there will be some supernatural disturbance in court, and then…who you gonna call?