I have been selected by the Western Division of the United States District Court here in Los Angeles to participate in their exciting month-long jury service program. I take it as a legitimate civic duty, and as I am off work for a spell, I happily sent my form back declaring my eligibility for service. I am trying to convince myself that this is a thrilling and exclusive opportunity!
It’s not working. First of all, I am “on-call” for thirty days. That means I have to plan on going tomorrow, but I won’t know for sure until I call in tonight after 6 PM. That means a lot of conversations like this one: “Hey, I might have to drop off my kids at your house tomorrow at 6:45 AM so you can take them to school for me, but I won’t know until tonight at 7. I’ll call you right after I call all my other appointments and engagements for tomorrow to reschedule all of them to some future indeterminate date, because I have no way of knowing when I will be done with this.” Furthermore, the first day of service begins at 7:45 AM, and given LA traffic and the distance between myself and downtown, I basically should have left yesterday to get there on time. (It’s not the Court’s fault that The Children’s Mother is out of town this week, complicating things.)
Jury duty in California seems to have recently tripled in its frequency for everyone. Last year I was similarly on-call but never told to report for Superior Court, and everyone I know seems to get a summons every few months. Meanwhile, I am greatly concerned by the Court’s dress code. “Please do not wear tank tops or shorts… Men must wear shirts with a collar and casual or dress slacks.” Great. Now I have to go shopping, too.