Jury Duty With Mayim Bialik – Kveller
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Mayim Bialik

Jury Duty With Mayim Bialik

They called me in. On the Thursday of my jury duty week. Seriously.

I had plans for the day, but no matter. Guess my hand didn’t need therapizing. Guess the Korean spa would have to wait. Jury duty cares not for my hand needs or my spa needs.

I almost didn’t get out of bed. Jury duty, in all of its wonderful civil glory, holds potential for me being forced to deal with all of the things I despise and detest and make strong efforts in my everyday life to avoid.

Here is a (likely incomplete) list of things I despise, detest, and make strong efforts in my everyday life to avoid, which jury duty has the potential to make me deal with:

New places
Managing new visual, auditory, and social information cues at once
Government Workers
Being recognized in places I can’t escape from

Get it? Me and jury duty are not supposed to mix. It falls under the general category of social anxiety, not celebrity pretension. As the band Gomez says: “Where we collide, we’ll see what gets left over.” Yeah, that’s kind of how I see me and jury duty: colliding and seeing what gets left over.

I could not even bring myself to get fully dressed for jury duty, I was that nervous. I did not even take off my PJ top or hoodie, I just threw a long skirt and Converse on and put on a baseball cap and packed whatever leftovers were in the fridge (bachelorette life, anyone?) and my laptop and headphones and went. I almost put a shot of Wild Turkey in my water bottle but thought that would be a seriously bad sign of so many things. So I didn’t.

I was very nervous but I have learned to use a mantra when nervous so I did that as I walked from the parking lot to the Courthouse. I have learned that–Wild Turkey jokes aside–the Serenity Prayer, the hallmark slogan of Alcoholics Anonymous, is the most awesome mantra ever, even if you are not an alcoholic. I love it. It works for me. So I used that.

Thankfully, the jury waiting area (or holding pen, I like to call it) was roomy. And I was one of the first there (I am always early, you should know that about me) so I picked a nice seat on a couch facing a large window and away from possible interaction with too many people. I also sat close to the jury offices because my mom always taught me to sit up close and make eye contact and establish rapport with people in charge. She’s been right about that for my whole life. Thanks, Ma.

(Sidenote: Ma: please don’t call me the morning you know I have jury duty to ask if I’ve seen the new trend of women wearing chunky rhinestone necklaces under denim chambray shirts and what do I think about that. It’s really not relevant and it’s not a good distraction. Thanks anyway, though, for trying.)

My snacks were gone by 10 a.m., since I am a nervous eater. So that happened. No one came up to me to ask me to take a picture with them (it happens less than you’d think but enough so that going to public places often requires me to wear lip gloss and mascara just in case). I don’t mind taking pictures with people in theory, but the thought of being in a room with 100 people with no way out all day terrified me, since if one person asked for a picture, it might make others notice me whereas they might not have before, and even if half of them might want to chat with me or take a picture, it might get a bit… intense for all involved. But that didn’t happen. So that’s good.

There was a video we had to watch detailing the jury process and cynical as I am, I am nothing if not a patriot and the little video made me a bit weepy. Three of my four grandparents immigrated to this fine country because the countries they came from were shipping Jews in boxcars to be incinerated in gas chambers with the knowledge and participation of their governments and citizens, so I’m a huge fan of that Statue of Liberty and all she stands for. Any image of Lady Liberty holding her torch high above Battery Park makes me start to cry, and I also get all emotional when I think of the Constitution being penned because England was trying to control the colonies and we just wanted to be free to not be taxed and monitored and patrolled and we wanted to be our own people and all of that… so the video was actually okay.

The parts of the video describing how being chosen for a jury is “deep, meaningful, and may result in new friendships” did not resonate with me at all. And I may have sniggered. But I watched the whole thing anyway.

Then I put on my headphones which I already told you in my post last week were magnificent in increasing my vacuuming time because they cancel out so much sound. My headphones are made by this Ultimate Ears company that gifted me them at the Emmy Awards and you should know that they are molded to my ears; they send an audiologist to take a mold of my ears and then I chose whatever jpeg I wanted for the outside and Presto Change-o! I have headphones that made waiting for jury duty bearable. I felt like I had a whole Neko Case concert in my head all morning. It was awesome.

We were relieved of our jury duty service at 1:50 p.m. and we all cheered and got our certificates that are proof for the next year that we served.

I was so happy that I went to hand therapy and then I got a drink.

That was my day at jury duty. Done and done. Until 12 months from now when they can call me again to do my civil duty… God Bless America!

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