Friday, February 8, 2008

Ending Jury Duty

I am glad my jury duty is over. It was a wicked murder trial. Something which I will never forget. It disrupted my life for a week and a half and made me realize how lucky I am to live the existence I live now. I could not imagine being the father of many many children and having my own son turn on me and accuse me of murder. At times I had trouble sleeping at night because the experience was so intense in the court room.

Mostly, it was not too bad, but it was the kind of thing where you had to pay attention. There were no cell phones or electronics in the courtroom. Outside the court it was a pretty rough place. We spent two days making a decision. Nobody agreed. There were some points in the trial where I could barely look at the guys sitting in the witness box.

The lawyers asked me what my hobbies were, I told them reading, walking, and relaxing which is pretty much true.

I feel I've changed a little bit inside. I feel a lot more gratitude for what I have. I've always thought I've had a decent amount of conflict in my life. Now, I realize how peaceful my life is in comparison to what I saw in the courtroom. I do not have to live with unregistered guns, street life, heroin addiction, crack cocaine, and prison.

I was surprised they picked me as a juror. I tried to say I had some trouble with my own father, but that seemed to only make the lawyers want me even more.

We spent a lot of time sitting quietly waiting for the judge. I would read a book then, but mostly I would wait. I tried to keep my mind clear. I took a corner where I could sit and read. I would read a few pages, then get called. It was back and forth most of the day.

On the way there, I would read a book in the subway. I usually got to the court about a half an hour early. One time I got there too early and I sat and read in a small restaurant drinking coffee until the court was ready to open.

It is a blessing to be back at work. There is a decent amount of work piled up, but I think I am ready to tackle it. I have already started reading the New York Times Book Review and Kirkus Reviews. I sorted through my mail, checked my email, and worked on clearing up what was left on my desk.

At night when I got back to my house, I felt too distracted to do much other than sit or help around the house. It was like there was a weight on my chest holding me down a bit.

I have several of the books which I planned on reading earlier laying on my desk. So, I can get back to focusing on some better material to read. My local library didn't have as good a selection as I would have liked. I feel like I was almost on hiatus when I was in the jury room. It was hard to do anything.

I am reading one of Nancy Pearl's recommended titles Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler. So far, it is very interesting.

I think I'll also have a little more time to look at book recommendation sites and bestseller lists once I get back into the swing of things.

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