I love jury duty. Now, let me qualify that statement by saying: I love jury duty when I am not the juror…or the bailiff. I work in the court systems, I have played a multitude of roles in this field for nearly a decade (I believe I am closing in on nine and a half years). One of the things that I love most about it: the people.
Everyone has a story, everyone has a reason to go from day to day, every one has biases and belief systems. Everyone is different. And the courtroom is a damn good place to hear some of these stories. One of the more recent cases I covered, a prospective juror flippantly mentioned in an off-hand way that she was shot during a robbery once. Now, that is not a story you can idly gloss over. She had been counting out her till when a man with a gun came charging in to the place where she worked- she gave him all that she had, but it wasn’t enough. He got mad and shot her in the shoulder. She told the whole story with a wry little chuckle and a knowing smile. There was also the man who crashed his private one-man plane into a river after trying to show off doing small areal stunts. Or the man who pulled out his own gun when a robber ran up and pulled open his car door in an attempted car-jacking. Then there was the woman who grabbed the red Pizza Hut sign off of the roof of a delivery truck and repeatedly hit an assailant with it when he tried to rob her friend. And who can forget the woman who managed to run over herself with her own car? Don’t worry- she is just fine, no lasting damage.
Every single person has a unique perspective in life. Every single individual has a story to tell, most of which are much stranger than any fiction you could possibly come up with. I love this aspect of my job because it is an open venue to hear these stories without the awkward daily social games we play with one another. As someone who tends to become rather anxious in new social situations, its rather refreshing to be able to skip the dance and go straight to the heart of the story.
So perhaps next time you get that summons in the mail, you wont let that first expletive-ridden thought control your outlook on the event. At the very least, you will probably be able to hear a few damn good stories while you wait. Inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places, if you are only willing to open yourself up to the possibilities.