Thursday, September 13, 2007

SAHM Juror

I took this photo across from the federal courthouse, where I do grand jury duty four times per month for the rest of my natural born life.

Or maybe it's only the next 18 months.

Anyway, whenever people ask me why I didn't try to get out of this rather lengthy commitment to public service, I tell them that I didn't want to get out of it. I love it. Four times a month, I ride the bus downtown during rush hour and feel of a piece with the rest of the world. There is no kid hanging on me, wiping body fluids on me, or asking me questions about the cranes and the tractors outside the window. On those days, I feel like an adult.

Nay, a civilian.

Over a bowl of udon at Red Fin, a fellow juror/SAHM and I shared revelations about our jury experience.

"It's like a mini-vacation from the house," she said.

"I know," I said, slurping my steaming, fat noodles. "And I get to have tofu udon for lunch!"

"Right, like, if I was at home, my kids and I would be eating something with melted cheese on it." She paused. "Though I do realize that maybe it's time to get some new clothes. I think I've been wearing the same stuff since I had my kids. I look at all these other women down here in their fancy little pencil skirts, and I feel like a slob."

I shared that I had recently been bitten by a bit of a clothes bug. I mused it may be that for the first time in five years, I'm not lactating, pregnant, flabby, or constantly being peed on. We looked at each other for a moment, feeling a little happy and proud. Then she rolled her eyes.

"Of course, this might not work out for me for much longer." She described the complicated tag-team game she and her husband play with caring for the children on her JD weeks, for which she has to travel by ferry and long distance and be gone for nearly three whole days.

Well, there's that. For me, though, it's not a hardship because I live right up the hill and I don't have regular paid employment anyway. I am, in fact, a perfect candidate for grand jury service. I cost them very little. I don't have a lot of onerous jury-service forms to be processed like other people do, for their employers, hotel expenses, and mileage.

My only complaint is that they don't pay for child care. I can see how doing so would quickly become a tangled web of liability and fraud, but still it digs a little when out-of-towners get to stay at the Max Hotel, and my per diem doesn't cover the price of a baby sitter. For many women, this would be a major hardship.

And that's too bad, because we all deserve the right to indict pimps and child pornographers.

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