Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The silent treatment

In order to protect the not-so-innocent, I decided to remove this entry.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Observations at jury duty

Today I served on jury duty. This was the first time, in the 18 years that I've been a registered voter, that I've ever been called for jury duty. Somehow, I expected a little more than what I got.

I arrived promptly at 8 a.m. and sat down for orientation. While waiting for everyone to sign in, I checked out some of my fellow potential jurors. I must admit when I got ready this morning, that I wasn't sure what to wear. I knew I didn't want to wear the business clothes that I typically wear to work. I also knew that I probably shouldn't wear the jeans and flip flops that I wear at home. I couldn't have been more wrong.

The people in our jury room wore all sorts of outfits: from suits and dresses to just-rolled-out-of-bed wrinkled jeans and dirty T-shirt. One of the guys, who sat in the row in front of me, looked like he hadn't even brushed his hear. I swear the jacket he was wearing was an original Member's Only jacket, and the flipflops that you could barely seen under the sagging jeans were a non-descript color because the dirt was so thick. The scariest thing is I think he was from Hobbit descent. Not only was he short, but he had the biggest toes I've ever seen, especially on feet that small. And the dirt on his toes and the top of his feet made them look hairy, a little like Mr. Froto. Who is the defendent who would be a peer to this guy?

We also had that guy ... you know, the guy whose voice cuts through any sort of conversational din? After our orientation, we were told that there really wasn't a jury selection ready yet, so we had to just sit and wait. Thankfully I had brought a very thick book to read. But through the small quiet conversations of various people throughout the room, I heard in a very loud deep voice from the back, "SO, YOU EVER SERVE ON A JURY BAFORE?" I heard the small voice next to him say, "No." "ME NEITHER."

I chose that moment to go check my voice mail and use the restroom. I got back and settled back into my chair and heard, "SO SHE HAS TO TAKE A URINE TEST, AND YOU THAT LIPMUS, LITMUS PAPER? IT SAYS SHE HAS TOO MUCH SUGAR IN HER URINE. SO I DECIDED TO TAKE A URINE TEST MYSELF." Hey, guy, we don't to hear about your urine test. I snuck a peek to see who he was talking to. It was a middle-aged woman who just smiled and nodded. I decided it might be best to sit outside in the courtyard rather than endure what other tests he might need to take.

I met a couple of younger people outside who seemed nice enough. The 23-year-old guy even gave me a compliment, saying he thought I was 10 years younger than my 36 years. The girl was 19, making me feel REALLY old. But she was easy to talk to, so I stayed outside with them. I realized that a 23-year-old guy is actually really young. Hearing lines like, "What does exfoliate mean?" "I like to keep my feet clean because they're the ugliest part of your body, so they should be clean because people see them, you know?" and "I like to read Cosmo, and I like Cosmos (the drink) but not in public," made me glad that I'm not 23 and looking for a date. The best converation of the day happened when the girl and I were discussing the scary transformation of Tom Cruise, and his comments about Brooke Shields.

23-year-old Guy: Who's Brooke Shields? The girl and I laugh.
Me: A long time ago, there was this movie called 'Blue Lagoon.'
23-year-old Guy: Never heard of it.
Me: What about Suddenly Susan?
23-year-old Guy: Nope. Sorry, I don't watch TV.
19-year-old Girl: Tell her about Britney Spears.
23-year-old Guy:: When I was in high school, my friends kept telling me that they thought Britney Spears was hot. I kept wondering who she was. I didn't remember meeting her in my school. I finally asked to of my girl friends, 'Hey, everyone keeps talking about this Britney Spears girl, but I've never met her.' They laughed and told me that she was a singer. I never knew.
Me: Oh (23-year-old guy), you're so pretty.

Lunchtime arrived and we still had not been called. We were given a break and told to be back at 1:30, when they'd give us more information. I took my leisurely lunch. I went alone so as to conserve some of my brain cells after my prior conversation. When I got back, I walked into the room and saw some guy doing a puzzle. Not a crossword puzzle, but an actual puzzle with scenery. Who thinks to bring a puzzle to jury duty?

Well, at 2:30, they finally told us we were free to leave. So my first day of jury duty didn't give me a glimpse into any good trials about dogs biting water meter checkers, or disputes about who stole whose boyfriend and owes for a $600 cell phone bill (oh, wait, that's People's Court). But it did give me a glimpse into the people who could one day sit on a trial for me ... and it scares me to death!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Good neighbors?

I'm just a little afraid ... I think my neighbor has it in for me. To be fair, she might not know I'm her neighbor, but the way she challenged me today, I'm keeping my eye out.

In our little suburban neighborhood, the house across the street and two houses down from us is one of those houses. You know the ones. The houses with sheets for curtains, with overgrown weeds and no flowers in the front yard, with peeling paint and seven cars parked outside. The house with the grandfather, the granddaughter, and 12 cousins all living in the same house.

Since we live in an older, well-established neighborhood, we don't have such things as associations or other community programs that monitor and dictate what a house should look like, and what color you can paint the exterior. It was one of the things my husband looked for in buying a house. He wanted to be able to drink beer in his garage with the door open without any hassle from middle-America. (He's really not a drunk; it's just a tradition that he and his dad share).

So there's this house. And I don't really know the people who live there. I know what the grandfather looks like because he carpools his grandchildren in their enormous blue van every day. And I know what the very large grandson looks like because I've seen him teach the neighbor boy how to box.

But today, I got a glimpse of who I think was the granddaughter. She had pulled out of the house in the big blue van, with a few other people in tow, and proceed to stop in the middle of the street. I pulled out of my driveway and pulled up behind her. She was double parked next to a car on my side of the street. She had her driver's side door open and was standing beside the door so I couldn't get through. I waited to see if she was just waiting for someone inside the house. She got back in the van, turned on her hazard lights, got out of the van and walked back across the street. So now I had to make my way through the tiny space on the other side of the street, between her big van, and another car that was parked on the opposite side of the street.

As I passed her, I just shook my head and said, "That's so rude." Of course, my windows were closed (remember my passive-aggressive nature?). The next thing I hear through the rolled-up windows was "WHAT, BITCH?!" I looked in my side mirror and saw her in the fighting stance, staring at me in my mirror, challenging me to stop the car and tell her what was what.

Of course I drove on. I'm not willing to fight some cholla that lives too close to home. I have nothing against the brown man, or brown woman in this instance. My husband is a brown man, for God's sake. I just don't get how someone who was clearly in the wrong, can put it on me, and then scare the wits out of me in the process.

I'm not sure if she knows I'm her neighbor. Since we live on a curve of a street that turns into another street, and one that people us as a shortcut much of the time (a topic for another blog), I'm hoping that she thinks I was just someone passing through. Although I wonder if she knew I was her neighbor, would she have still said that? And bringing it back to me, would I have said what I did, if I had known her better? Hmmm, maybe that's a lesson for me.

But it still doesn't change the fact that I may have a very scary woman with a vendetta against me.