Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bao and I had jury duty on Tuesday.

We signed in and sat around for an hour in a vast room (Bao thought it was an airport) and then they sent us out to lunch and when we came back they divided us up into groups and sent our group to the fifth floor. There were about 60 of us. They called out 22 names -- these were the guys who might get to be jurors. The rest of us were extras.

We all went into the court and sat down. (Bao thought it was a theatre) We weren't allowed to read or do Sudoku puzzles. We had to sit quietly and listen. It was a criminal matter, a child had been sexually molested. One by one, the judge asked prospective jurors if they had a problem with this. They did. One by one, they approached the bench. One by one, they were excused for cause. This took hours.

More names were called. More people were excused for cause. Our ranks were thinning rapidly. and I was becoming uneasy -- I did not want to be a juror in this trial.

Finally, it looked as if we had a jury. Then the judge told everyone that the trial would last two weeks. Whoops. Half a dozen jurors suddenly realized that they did have a problem with the topic, after all. The process began again.

When it was finally over the judge thanked everybody who hadn't been selected for their contribution to the American system of justice -- which was better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick, as Australians would say. And that was it.

It was dark by the time we got back to the car.


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