Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Several things about and inspired by jury duty...

On the way in, the man in front of me had a small knife on his keyring. The jury selection card clearly said "no weapons", but perhaps he thought more along the lines of a tank. Or perhaps he didn't think of it as all, since it was just a part of his keys. It was a very small knife, and certainly much smaller than all of the pocket knives I've ever carried nearly every day of my life since age six. He went up to the guard, put in his keys, walked through the metal detector, and the guard said to him: "Next time, leave that knife off of your keyring." Next time? Apparently you get a free weapon check-in if you're a first time juror. And how the hell does he know this *is* the first time for this guy? It made me feel all the safer watching people who I assume were lawyers going through the "non juror" lane, and setting off the metal detector while carrying big, bulky boxes of stuff. The security at my place of employment is laughable, but it doesn't draw attention to how laughable it is by having a big, screaming alarm go off every time someone steps through it... only to be ignored by those in uniform who are intently looking at women's handbags.

Also, I saw further evidence to feed my dislike of the general mindset of police. Who did I see speeding recklessly through the parking lot? Was it the jurors, happy to get a close spot? Or the jurors, happy to be let go? Nope. It was the pigs, blasting through a parking lot that was chock full of people at noon. No lights or sirens. And it was more than one car, and they were not rushing off to the same destination. Unless the destination moved to opposite ends of the lot.

It cost me over $110 just to get to the court and back. Cab fare was a hefty $55 one way. Learning this last night did not improve my general state of rage.

Hmm... I was thinking about this in the cab ride back, so I may as well type this one out. Those of you who know me know I am generally pissed off most of the time. I go from minor annoyances to more vociferous rages to occasionally turning color and losing the ability to speak. Having been pissed off for most of my life, I've been able to distinguish the differences between the moods, and I know which ones are minor, which ones are dangerous, and which ones make me feel like splitting the Earth in twain. The minor to semi-dangerous ones are, for me at least, relatively harmless. Those are the times when I call upon my inner rage to do something ridiculous like lifting up a couch by myself. Or move a filing cabinet that's full of crap. Because, to look at me, you wouldn't think I could do any of that. But I can, with the right amount of rage. The more dangerous ones still let me do that, but it's harder to control. I'm still capable of general speech, but it may be interspersed with growls or something that sounds like Klingon. This was much more common in my teen years, and has dropped significantly as the years have gone by.

The most dangerous type, though, is the type I was experiencing last night. Quiet, all-consuming rage. My chest was hurting from holding in the screams of utter frustration and pain I wanted to inflict on the computer that chose my name for jury duty, the person who programmed the computer, the people he worked with/for, his friends and family, etc. etc. Large parts of my brain are taken over by these thoughts. My brain holds lots of room for lots of thoughts, but those all get pushed down into a corner and locked in a box for the duration. And that's the dangerous part. Logic and reason go out the window. I'm a reasonably logical man. I figure stuff out for fun. Having that part of you go away and be replaced by a cold yet burning emotion is not at all enjoyable.

Let's put it this way.... If I were Bruce Banner, I would be green most of the time. Not greenish. Not sea foam. Emerald, baby. Quite possibly glowing.

On a good note, though, the trial I was supposed to be grilled about was settled. So I shouldn't get called for jury duty for four years. Time to start planning a name change...

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