The only thing worse than jury duty, is court because you missed jury duty.
I know, I know. How does that happen? Well, with over 80 hours of work for school, a job, two kids, and two cars broken down at one time, I don’t think the mail even crossed my mind, and when I did open it, I had been given one week notice to appear, and I opened that letter a week after. I was sick. So, these things have to occur often, and I have never been in trouble with the law, ever, so I nervously headed down to the courthouse yesterday, breathing deeply, Divorcee calmed assurance I would probably pay a fine went over and over in my head to calm my nerves. I sat down, two men in front of me who clearly did not speak English stared off into space, a prisoner was brought in to face the judge for a DUI, so I sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” in my head, pretending I was watching this, not living it.
I know. I’m dramatic, a Nervous Nellie, certain I am going to jail every time a cop pulls someone over in front of me, even though I am not speeding, nor carrying illegal drugs, but I don’t care.
Cops make me nervous.
About that time, the judge takes a recess, a woman barrels through with a binder twice as big as my head, papers flying behind her, my hand with only my i.d. starts shaking, and after an animated discussion with the officers lined up, she throws her hands up, turns, surveys the five people in the big room, and “oh no, no,” I think.
She is headed right to me.
Divorcee laughs at these things because they happen everywhere, not even blockbuster am I allowed to go in and grab a movie, he is so certain I will end up in an aisle for 20 minutes with some person, telling me their life story.
She sits down, way too close, turns to me and says, “Sweetie, you look scared as me, but I have to break it to you. We are ALL going to jail for 30 days.”
Wait. Hold up. What? No way.
I started to wish I had brought that emergency xanex.
She showed me her papers, told me they would not even excuse her for BRAIN SURGERY, and that this is the way the county makes money, by sending people like us to jail, that it happened to her close friend, that the reporter assured her it was inevitable.
I broke into the ugly cry people, sobbing, thinking about my girls, prison, and I even said out loud, “But I even made sure to wear a polo!!!”
She shook her head, patted my shoulder, running her mouth non stop about all she had been through to deal with the system, that our fate was not up to us.
Two thugs came in behind me at this point, both were yelled at for wearing hats, they slumped behind me and one said, “I am pleading guilty, man. I ain’t taking no shit.”
The other laughed, reminding him of being put in jail twice for talking shit, and once in Juvy, and I left my body while the lady yelled at the two Middle Eastern men, in the ignorant way people do when they think if your skin color is different, it makes you deaf.
“YOU UNDERSTANDA THATA YOU WILL GO TO JAIL- A,” she announced like they were retarded, slowly and loud, while I groaned, wishing I had just let my whole career go to the toilet to avoid this moment.
The judge entered, my legs felt like jello, and I did not even care when brain lady grabbed my arm for support, as he said, “ALL RISE,” just like in Judge Judy, but scarier. Then, he read what made you exempt and that was mainly death, and that the punishment is serious in offense and you could spend thirty days in jail with a 1000 dollar fine. Then, he said, “Come, one by one, and pick your best date.” I was visualizing at that moment throwing myself at his robe and begging for mercy, perhaps showing a video of Lola, my baby, when, wait, what?”
I was free?
He turned to leave, asking why Brain Cancer lady had her hand raised, which I groaned out loud this time, which she said, “I don’t understand questions because I have a stroke.”
I hissed at her to shut her trap, I would interpret them, and so, a strange bizarre friendship had formed. Because my stories are so dramatic, and because truth is always best when not fabricated, I asked if she were willing to be tape recorded, gotta love the Droid, and she agreed, that yes, her story about the judicial system had to get out.
Look out Geraldo.
I may just have your job one day.
On a serious note, cause this tape is far from anything but hilarious and saddening but funny, it is pretty sick and frightening that this woman would not be dismissed, that many many of them like her are in fact, in our courtrooms, sentencing people’s lives away.
If I didn’t already believe in the death penalty, I sure as hell don’t now, not after this experience.
God, I wonder how many free people are in jail, it makes me shudder, if this is the system, it is broken, without a doubt.
Listen to my friend and I, having being just released, and I would love to hear what you think, and how you would describe her condition….
First off, apologies for the multiple tries to upload this stupid thing. Click on the following and BE AFRAID.