Thursday, September 3, 2009

The gift of time

It is a sad fact that many of us squander our most precious possession, time. We are so busy scampering from pillar to post for much of our lives conducting our regular business, raising our families, being with our loved ones and sleeping that a change in our daily activities and schedules can hit us like a load of bricks out of the blue. The inactivity associated with waiting in the jury pool is a shock to my system. I am restless, confined to one room filled with 50 people. Across the hallway is another room with at least another 100 potential jurors. The powers that be have warded us Internet access, so many of us are keeping busy writing or checking e-mails or working on proposals for business. Some of us are blogging (lucky us). Others are working on the morning crossword puzzles and sodeku. We are all trying to entertain our minds, anxiously awaiting the news as to whether Orleans Parish will need to utilize our services as jurors or not. If so, we may be impaneled for the the remainder of the day or sequestered for an even longer time. If not, we may have a half-day to do with as we see fit. When time is one's own, it is largely taken for granted. When our time is given over to an employer or other taskmaster of our own choosing, we do so with the knowledge there is a recompense we receive. Usually, it is some financial reward or, at the very least, something that results in our feeling charitable or helpful. When our time is given over to a government, we don't receive anything other than a slap on our backs and a hearty thank you, if that much. Does that mean we should be resentful for doing our civic duty? I think not. After all, if we don't serve, who will? As American citizens, we need to be involved in the process. Some authoritarian governments wouldn't be bothered with the albatross of empaneling a jury of one's peers. They would simply find the parties guilty via a kangaroo court or panels of judges who would act as the state would demand. So, my being here is a lot about justice. I believe in the American system of juris prudence, but I must admit that seeing it up close and personal is not something I would willingly chose to do. Nevertheless, I am happy that I am hearty, hale and able to add my voice to the system. The number of courts needing jurors started at six and has now dwindled down to three. I'm hoping I won't be needed, but if I am called, I will serve. I just hope the judges realize there's a Saints game tonight at 7:00 p.m.

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