All last week I was stressing because I had to report to US District Court in Great Falls for jury duty. No call to say my date with the Feds would be cancelled. Spent the weekend getting my house in order just in case, y’know, the experience turned out to be a nightmarish 6-week ordeal, or I died on the road, or I was thrown into prison for life for contempt of court because I laughed at the wrong time or said got caught saying something inappropriate.

OK, well, my preparations consisted of scrubbing the toilet and laundering all the clothes. Whatever.

I did spend lots of quality time with my husband and dog and horses and had to get all the horse matters in line for John to take over chores.

I packed for five days away from home spending time at an activity that required me to dress respectably and comfortably — two mutually exclusive conditions. I so wished I could wear sweats to sit there all day. Monday morning I was up by 4:40 and on the road by 6 a.m.

After the strip-search entry into the federal building, and the 20-minute welcome-to-jury-duty inspirational video starring justices Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) and Samuel Alito, I won the lottery to rise from the common rabble to be one of the pre-selection jurors. I was, in fact, the last of 32 names to be drawn. When the clerk read my name, I said, “score,” under my breath and stood. The kid next to me laughed. I could tell he was a nice kid when I sat there. Good taste.

There’s me in the hot seat, being good, being good, being goo— just a wee bit fidgety to keep my back from seizing up. I was polite about it. No big, groany stretches. Give me some credit.

The judge asked a bunch of questions meant to eliminate unacceptable potential jurors who were excused because they felt that they couldn’t be fair and impartial — along with the guy who decided he wanted to go back to the hospital to finish having pneumonia. Friggin’ wimp.

At some point in the questioning, I imagined saying something like “I think the defendant should have a fair trial, followed by a first-class hangin'” just to see what the judge would say. Obviously, my internal editor was scared into being fully functional. There was me being shut up, being shut up, being totally shut up.

After the judge was done, the prosecuting attorney asked a bunch of questions to get a handle on our worthiness. Then the defense attorney had at us.

After all this, the legal counsels formed their respective huddles and, in some sort of reversal of the grade school nightmare of team-choosing, the attorneys indicated to the judge who they didn’t want on their team. I was totally kicked out of the court room and sent home.

Yes, it was better than being sent to jail, but I was, by then, primed to be a worthy citizen through the dignified execution of my fair and impartial jurorish duties. It was not to be, I just had a long drive home, with my wrinkle-packed clothes and a diet coke.

Oh, and the fond memory of a scrumptious, giant, mega-croissant with a dark chocolate topping that I scarfed down during our brief break. mmm-mm-m-m-mmmm.

I may dream of croissant-filled civil duty again tonight at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

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