My Bogus Downtown Adventure

6 March 2008

I went downtown for jury duty to-day.

I took the bus, in order to save on the expense of parking. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about having various knives and multi-tools on my person. There were no lockers at the court-house or otherwise nearby, and my car was back in Hillcrest. So I decided to ship my things at the nearby UPS Store. I didn't want to have to wait until to-morrow to retake possession, so I asked if I could ship them for pick-up at that very same store, and found that I could. That cost me a total of US$6.60, including the envelope.

I got to the juror waiting rooms in time to see the final seconds of the orientation film. I'd seen it once before to-day, and once is one time too many; I was glad to have missed it.

I parked in the reading room, and watched Dark City (1998), to indeed see whether there were any SC 1243 subscriber sets in it. I didn't spot any. (I did spot a Model 500, most of which were made by Western Electric, and sets or bits of sets that I couldn't identify without checking references. Also, I am no longer quite as certain that the set at 4:40 is a WECo Model 302, though there's a Model 302 at about 55:55.) Actually, as I noted to the Woman of Interest, it was probably wise not to include a SC 1243 subscriber set. The design of the 1243 was clearly influenced by the 302, and the sets are normally black like a 302; but their appearance is less utilitarian and more overtly art deco. Dark City is thus a bit more dark for their absence.

Shortly after I finished this peculiar cataloguing of Dark City, the Woman of Interest called. We chatted until about 14:00, at which point she went out with a friend for dinner. In all this time, no one in the jury pool was actually summoned to be seat as a juror. In fact, by the end of the lunch period, the jury services office announced that only one remaining court might need a jury. So, by the time that the Woman of Interest got off the phone, I was expecting to be dismissed soon.

At about 14:15, announcement was made that there was going to be an evacuation drill at 14:30, that we would be directed out of the building and to a public assembly place by sheriff's deputies, and that afterwards, those who were not present as alternates (selected on a previous day) would be free to leave. This announcement offended most of the jury pool. It is one thing to serve on a jury or to stand-and-wait for such service, another to be convenient subjects to teach deputies and others herding techniques. (After all, almost none of us would expect to be back in the court-house for at least another year, by which time the protocol would probably have changed anyway.) Most jurors simply left. I decided to go through with the drill, as perhaps something interesting might happen.

However, once we were directed out of the building, deputies did not direct us on to the alleged place of public assembly. So we milled-about in front of the building until, after some time, a deputy told us that the place of assembly was at the intersection of Union Street and B Street, and we headed thence. But at C Street, a block south of B Street, we were rerouted eastward by a deputy. No indication was given as to just where were were actually going; I had 15-to-20 pounds of computer on my back and large book and what-not under my arm; and the UPS Store was in the opposite direction. After a bit more than another block, we hit my Fuck you too! point, and I left the herd.

Shipping my knives and tools 0 feet did not work as well as might have been expected. There was different staff at the UPS Store. They struggled with the concept of my having shipped from the store to itself, and kept telling me that the delivery truck had not yet arrived. Apparently, I was the first to use this trick. (Too clever by half, perhaps.) When one of them finally understood that the package should be there without having arrived on a delivery truck, they still couldn't find the thing. The fellow who had taken the package in the first place was out on an errand, and I had to wait for his return before I could recover my things.

In the context of some construction work, I had trouble locating the bus stop for my return trip home, and ended-up carrying the d_mn'd computer and what-not for an extra four-to-six blocks, in the course of which I got jostled by a hulk who had a commitment to walking slowly and otherwise in such manner as to block everyone behind him. It was apparently during this brief incident that one of the two bus passes that I (qua juror) had been given fell, unnoticed, from my pocket. Although I might never have used it, I regret the loss.

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