Monday, March 30, 2009

The Pre-Jury Dreads

I am having such a Monday. I guess the weather is changing (again) because I have very achy knees. And I have a serious case of The Dreads about tomorrow, when I have jury duty. Again. Because, apparently, actually showing up in this county puts you in the hopper as a live one, so they keep bringing you back, because that's easier than going after the 70 percent (last figure I heard) who don't show up (of course, if I didn't show up, I'd have constables on my doorstep to drag me in). I really, really, really hate jury duty, every single aspect of it -- driving downtown in rush hour, trying to park in a parking garage designed by MC Escher, all that waiting around, realizing that law-abiding citizens called for jury duty have fewer rights than alleged criminals, realizing that the trials are seldom really about guilt or innocence but rather about some minutiae in a subparagraph of a subsection in the criminal code, and generally having to deal with the system. The last time wasn't quite as miserable, in spite of being stuck on an ugly trial, since my fellow jurors were all reasonable, nice people. But I still HATE, HATE, HATE it.

However, I'm trying to be optimistic. I figure that since, for a change, this isn't a majorly inconvenient time for me, the odds are good that I'll spend a few hours reading in the central jury room before being sent home. Always before, I've had jury duty right after a really stressful time when I was just home from being out of town, or when I've been up against a really tight deadline, or when I was scheduled to go out of town later in the week (last time, it was all of the above), or when I had some great opportunity the next day, if only I didn't end up on a trial. So, of course, I'd get stuck on a trial. But at the moment I have no real plans, no real deadline, nothing urgent going on. It's a chance to catch up on my reading. That will likely get me off the hook.

As a follow-up to Friday's post, after I spent the weekend looking at my Sam the Gargoyle figurine, I've realized that Sam probably doesn't have the long dragon tail (I hadn't even noticed the tail on the figurine). I think he has a shorter, stubbier tail, but to be honest, I really hadn't put a lot of thought into Sam's butt.

Ooh, I just realized something that might help with my jury problem -- I watch way more crime shows than I used to (which means I watch them at all, even ones that don't involve vampires, immortals, etc.), and they did ask about that during my last round of jury selection. Those shows are like comfort food television -- brain cupcakes, as opposed to brain candy, in that they've got some substance. There's something kind of reassuring about a show in which the good guys will solve the case by the end, the heroes prevail, and there's no real doubt as to the ultimate fate of the characters, with no major arcs to follow. One of the psychological appeals of mysteries, in general, is that they give a sense of meaning and order to the universe, since the criminals always have motives and reasons for doing the things they do, and justice always prevails. Shows that fit the comfort food TV/brain cupcake category for me need to include characters I like, reasonably closed-ended episodes, just enough tension to make things interesting but not enough to be stressful, nothing too icky or gory (though I have a high gore tolerance, thanks to years working at a medical school), a good dose of humor and at least one reasonably attractive man.

My discovery this weekend while I was being too lazy to put in tapes or DVDs and instead was just watching stuff from OnDemand was In Plain Sight, which fits the standard USA series model of main character who fights crime/solves mysteries using unorthodox methods while dealing with wacky and infuriating family members. In this case, it involves the Witness Protection Program and a clingy/useless mother and sister. But what makes the show for me is the main character's partner, who is played by an actor who could almost be David Tennant's American cousin. The character is probably a bit annoying on paper, since he's quite the know-it-all and rather brilliant, but as played, he's hilarious because his never-ending wealth of knowledge is delivered in a dry, offhand, sarcastic way. Plus, he's a US Marshal whose name is Marshall, and how can you not love that? They had the last few episodes from last season up on OnDemand, and the new season starts in a couple of weeks.

And now I will go take care of all the tasks that need to be done this week, so as to further stack the deck in my favor. I figure that if there really is absolutely no reason that spending the week at the courthouse could be more than a minor inconvenience, I'm sure to be off the hook (and, actually, now that they've upped the compensation for days of jury duty beyond the first one, I could stand to make some money).

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