Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jury Duty: My Horticultural Inspiration

Dateline: September 21, 2010; Santa Barbara County Courthouse - Jury Assembly Room
A few weeks ago, the U.S. Postal Service delivered an all-too-familiar, neatly folded brown and beige mailer. JURY SUMMONS. I get them every year; I'm special that way.

Perverse as it might sound, I used to look forward to jury duty. At least, that was the case when I was a municipal government employee. I've been called at least a dozen times, served on two local and two federal district court trials while receiving my full pay, playing hooky and spending many fascinating hours listening to testimony about international kidnapping, racist police abuse, brain surgery and a very twisted foster mom. I enjoyed using my Spock-like mental acuity to balance the scales of justice (I'm a Libra, after all).

This year? Not so much. In my post-layoff, Billy v2.0 life, I pretty much spend all my waking hours working, networking and engaging in shameless self-promotion.

If I'm not writing for Edhat, Fine Gardening Magazine, 805 Living, or putting the final edits on my Trader Joe's shopping list, I'm prepping for and teaching City College and adult education class, creating landscape designs for clients, shooting a TV show, or banging on my drums with King Bee. (I have people who eat and sleep for me.) So the prospect of eight days of testimony and who knows how many days of deliberation for an assault, battery and lewd conduct in an adult bookstore trial, for $15 a day plus mileage was about as attractive as the south end of a northbound peccary

The jury selection routine proceeded throughout the day without hearing my name. Though I tried paying attention to the interview questions thrown at the other prospective jurors, I was preoccupied thinking about my Thursday noon deadline for Edhat. What if I'm selected? What could I write about off the top of my head, in the scant two evenings I might have at my disposal?

Day one was almost over when I heard "William Goodnick." Taking my seat and grabbing the microphone, I was straight up with the Honorable Judge Ochoa. Name, rank, serial number, occupation, etc.

Lovely pics and more words at Edhat.com

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