- I’m not over 70 but if the ‘Time Thief’ I talked about in my last post doesn’t slow down, I will be before I know it.
- I wouldn’t be an empty nester if I still had a child under 12. I lost this exemption when the form wasn’t altered to say 12 instead of 15. They must have bulk ordered the forms.
- It’s been a long time since I was a high school student, although, when my children were in high school I think I was at the school more than many of their less ambitious classmates. I was a ‘helpful’ parent. ‘Helpful’ parent sounds so much nicer than ‘helicopter’ parent.
- I was attending college last semester. It was a Continuing Education class that met one night a week and I didn’t get a grade. Not exactly what the court system had in mind with this exemption but I gave it some thought. I could quickly enroll in another class. That felt like cheating and a little extreme. Alas, my overactive conscious (I curse that right-minded Cricket of childhood) kept me from calling the local Junior College.
- I don’t work for the legislative branch of the government. No exemption there. If I worked for the government there would be an exemption for empty nesters with children home for the holidays.
- I’m not a primary caretaker for an invalid although I am a caretaker for people who, at times, act like invalids. I’m a little bitter about taking out the trash even when I have able-body children home.
- I’m not in the military but I raised three teenagers so I’m familiar with domestic battle zones. Have you heard of the Smith family trash wars?
Where was the exemption for empty nesters? I expected to read, ‘You may be excused from jury service if you are suffering from temporary NENS or Non-Empty Nest Syndrome. It wasn’t there.
The following Monday I reported for jury duty. For three hours I sat on the front row feeling sorry for myself. I knew I would get chosen. I’ve been summoned, without a valid exemption, five times and I have served four times. The one time I didn’t serve, I was number 222 so the odds were good they wouldn’t pick me. They need twelve jurors and the two lawyers only get ten strikes each. On this Monday I was one of the first twelve when they seated us numerically.
When the lawyers were ready to announce their selections, I picked up my book. I read little of my book during my hours at court because I was thinking about the time I was going to miss from my children while I served on the jury. I pulled my purse out from under the bench so I would be ready to make the move over to the jury box. I made sure the lid was tight on the water bottle hidden in my purse. Frequently called jurors learn that judges and lawyers spend lots of time doing lots of things that don’t involve the jury pool. You need a good book and a water bottle.
The first name the judge called was someone sitting behind me. That was strange. They usually call in numerical order, but still, I didn’t doubt my fate. It wasn’t until twelve people took their seats in the jury box that it sunk in. I was off the hook. I almost let out a shout of joy. I was heading home and college girl was probably just waking up.
As I headed for the door, high-fiving the other freed candidates, it hit me. I hadn’t been picked. How could that be? I didn’t say anything controversial. I didn’t really say anything at all. What did the lawyers read into the general information on my juror card? What made those other candidates better than me? What’s wrong with me? My feelings were a little hurt.
And that odd thought process reminded me of the ‘General Qualifications for Jury Service’. Next time I’m called for service, I may just disqualify myself using #4. (see below)