I had not been on jury duty since Bob and I lived in Boston, at least nine years ago. But recently, I was called to the Collier County Courthouse to do my civic duty. My official number was 116 and everyone I asked told me I was sure to be called. Collier County makes the process fairly effortless-you can either call the night before to see if you are chosen to report, or you can log on to the court website. I was thrilled to see that jurors 1 to 55 were to report the following Monday. Same thing on Monday evening; I was exempt because no trials were scheduled for Tuesday.
With only two days left to be called, I was feeling pretty confident that it was too late in the week to actually start a trial. Just to be certain. I checked one more time. Jurors 56 to 280 were to report Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. My thoughts took me to my jury service in Boston. I remembered the officials then who were in charge of the jury pool were very crabby, and they had no sense of humor when it came to anything, especially tardiness.
Thank goodness, I woke up on my own without the alarm clock, which didn’t work on Wednesday morning. I raced around like a madwoman and managed to be in my car at 8:04, figuring I could make it to the courthouse in 25 minutes. I sped out of our garage and headed toward the gates of Bay Colony. Panic set in when I realized I was trapped in my own community by what seemed like hundreds of workers either planting flowers, sitting in trucks, or hanging from trees with Christmas decorations, giving me barely room to squeak through. I was certain a contempt of court charge was in my future. After I made my escape and headed on U.S. 41, I admit I shirked the speed limit as I zigged and zagged around other cars. The courthouse garage was in sight; I parked inside the surprisingly clean and free facility at 8:28. With two minutes to get to the fifth floor, I ran down the stairs in the garage, over the grass and up the stairs into the courthouse, tossing my purse at the security guard to scan. I arrived at 8:34. Not only was I one of the first to arrive, I also was greeted by a very nice woman with a huge smile. The folks in the Boston court system could learn from this gal. What made the entire experience even better-I was back home by 10:30 a.m. because all the cases on the docket that day were settled. I wonder if anyone in the system was at all influenced by a crazed woman with red hair barreling toward them in a big white car? We’ll never know. Maybe justice is blind.