diamond geezer

 Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Just in case

Back to court this morning for jury service, day 2. Back to sit on the almost-comfy chairs. Back to wait.

Some of yesterday's new jurors were already sitting in their groups of twelve, ready to continue with whatever case they'd started on yesterday. They were talking and chatting, not about the case of course, but because they'd been grouped together and they 'belonged'. The rest of us sat back and waited to be allocated to one of the new trials starting today. We weren't already talking and chatting, because we were still individuals without any sort of group identity. Even when today's groups were announced we still couldn't attach each name to a face, so we continued to sit there solo, flicking through reading material and watching the clock.

As the morning wore on, all the other juries were called for and all the other groups went off to become juries, until only my group was left. At last, because we all finally knew we had something in common, we were able to start talking. Nice safe conversation, like where have you come from, and my son used to live there, and what travelling expenses are you claiming, and I wish they'd hurry up and serve lunch because I'm starving. By the time we'd done lunch we were onto traffic wardens, child-minding arrangements and what it's like to play football for a top Premiership club. A much better way to fill the time than re-reading the newspaper for a fifth time.

At last, just after lunch, my group was called down to our court room to be selected and sworn in. We were a jury now, although not all of us made it through the random card shuffle that decided exactly which twelve people would fill the jury's benches. Only then did we discover the exact nature of the trial to which we'd been allocated. I can't tell you anything about what happened next of course, but the case continues tomorrow. 12 minutes must be the shortest day's work I've ever done in my life but, for someone, it's possibly the most important.

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