Something New – Part 8

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
* * *
Each month I think – what opportunity will I have for some new experience? Will I search for something? Will it come unbidden? And then it comes…IMG_0407
I know. It’s hard to believe that I am this age and have never reported for jury duty. Actually, I’ve been notified one other time (two years ago) and opted out because my husband was scheduled for surgery.
This time I read the small print and noted that I had an out. I could actually play the age card (70+) and be excused without question.
No way! Not only was this my civic duty but it was a perfect new experience for eighth month of my Silver Gate challenge.
On the first day of the summons, I checked in online and my number was not up. On the second day, the 27th, it was. (Perfect because this is actually my birth date and conforms to the letter of the challenge.)
I was pumped! I wanted to be early and started off in good time. When I was almost to the courthouse I realized I had forgotten to bring my iPad. What? No Ereader? No distraction?
I actually turned back and headed for home before I got real. I had been warned not to be late. Could I not sit quietly and wait? Was a smart phone not enough to entertain me if I got desperate? And so I slipped in a few minutes early – at about 8:10 – one of approximately sixty people.
I filled out the questionnaire that was handed to me. Watched the video explaining procedure in the courtroom. And waited.
My age bracket was well-represent by those who had also ignored the option to decline. Although I’m not a good judge of age, I think there were people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, too. There were men in t-shirts and sneakers. A woman in denim cut-offs. One young lady in a low cut shirt over tight capris sported some awesome wedge shoes. Women were dressed for office jobs. Men in construction attire. This wide assortment of people should provide a jury of peers for any defendant as long as he/she was white and middle class.
Sigh… This lack of diversity in color and ethnicity is typical of my area.
Rather than use my earbuds and listen to podcasts or music, I listened to the conversations in the room. Perhaps the acoustic were designed for eavesdropping because I could easily hear people’s low-voiced complaints from across the large room.
“Don’t they know I have a job? How long are they going to make us wait?”
“If they had to pay us for lost wages they might think twice about calling all of us in here?”
“This is my THIRD time on jury duty. WTF!” (This from a young person so I understood the inequity.)
A woman sitting by me had reported the day before and explained that by 9:00 a.m. we would probably be called if our questionnaires had passed muster for these particular trials.
By 10:00 a.m. the crowd was restless. We began trickling out toward the restrooms and were warned to ignore conversations in the lobby. Attorneys and clients might be discussing details of the cases.
At 10:30 a man entered and walket to the front of the room. He explained that he was a judge in two of the trials scheduled for the morning. Both had been settled. A third had been continued. We were excused.
Maybe a bit anticlimactic but it was fine with me. I had my new experience. And I had a free day ahead of me.
And if I ever actually serve on a jury…it will be another milestone.
The Student
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Filed under Angeles Arríen, The Challenge, The Second Half of Life, The Silver Gate

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