Jury Duty, Day Two: On Museums and Balloon Head

Jury Duty, Day Two: On Museums and Balloon Head

I left jury duty at 5pm yesterday feeling like I was coming down with something. My throat was sore, my head had that balloon-y feeling, and I felt dizzy. I went right home, took care of the dogs and a few chores, and went to bed. Sure enough, I woke up at 3am so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sleep, my symptoms launched into full-blown misery. On a normal day I would have stayed home in bed, but with being on jury duty and in the middle of a case, I felt like I needed to go no matter what.

Sitting in the jury box listening to testimony was not fun- being still was impossible, and I was sucking down throat lozenges like they were going out of style. Without Ghostbuster Man there to provide entertainment, it felt like the clock was moving backward instead of forward during the painstakingly tedious testimony. When the judge finally let us break for lunch during a lull in the testimony, I knew just what my spirit needed, and it was just around the corner.

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I have always loved the Birmingham Museum of Art. To me, it is the major perk of jury duty- having a small window of time to eat a good lunch at Oscar’s, the museum restaurant, followed by a quick walk through the exhibits- all just around the corner from the courthouse. Ever the introvert, I stole away on my own, enjoying the special of the day- grilled swordfish, kale, and stone ground grits. It was absolutely wonderful to sit and quietly read as I ate. I may or may not have had dessert….jury duty does cause a lot of pain and suffering, you know.

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I am always drawn to the Italian section of the museum, starting with the 14th century and working my way up. Something about the feeling of timelessness in those rooms filled with art, the history, calls to me. I am particularly drawn to the statuary, and could study it for hours. To think of the artist starting with a block of marble, or stone, or some other material, and turning into an exquisite thing of beauty is fascinating to me. I was alone on my little expedition for the most part, just the way I wanted it. I felt as if I could absorb and feel the electricity of each piece, silent sentries, waiting for people to walk through and appreciate them. I will go back tomorrow, too. Such a welcome respite in the middle of a long day.

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I am reminded again of how fortunate we are in Birmingham to have such a thriving cultural scene- one of the top regional symphony orchestras around, two opera companies, two ballet companies, lots of live theater, a very active jazz scene, and the active music, theater, and art programs at UAB- all a huge reason I took the job at UAB. Our city has its issues, but many of our citizens recognize the importance of the arts in making a city- and its citizens- great.

I went back to the courtroom feeling revitalized, though still wobbly from the effects of my head cold. I so look forward to being able to write about the case when it closes…which will hopefully be tomorrow. I am all about doing my civic duty, but I’m missing my students and getting very behind at school. Time to finish things up and get back to the work of teaching. But before then, at least one more day of being a part of the justice system, and one more day of visiting Italy again through its art. Not the same as being in Florence or Rome, but it is quite a wonderful bandaid on my wanderlust.

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