Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jury Duty & the Brink of Sanity

Hello! Sorry for the break in regularly scheduled programming...wait, I take that back, the schedule has always been far from regular. So, while there is nothing new in the way of blog regularity, the newness is abundant in the way of Mission Cheese, and why not throw in a jury summons?

The plans for 736 Valencia are cruising along at freaking warp speed (thanks Josh!), which means decisions have to be made regarding all equipment (hood, range, refrigeration...lots of refrigeration for precious cheese, beer dispensary, dish washer, ice maker, freezer, & sinks) as well as building materials to be used for, well, everything (bar top, tile, flooring, cabinetry, bus station, tables, chairs, lights). All this and some hourly work I have picked up in a cubicle that shall remain nameless (must. pay. rent.) has kept me more than busy, but sane-ish. I knew jury duty was on it's way. I had already claimed hardship 3 months earlier, but I was sure this time I would not even be called in and all would be lollipops & rainbows.

Sunday call..."please call back on Monday, November 8" (phew)

Monday call..."please report to 850 Bryant (a.k.a. Suckfest, USA) at 9:45 on Tuesday, November 9" (NO! This is awful, but it's only one day & surely I will not be selected)

Tuesday, as the visions of lollipops & rainbows fade into the distance, I walk through 4 consecutive blocks of puke-scented sidewalk (really, how can it last for that many blocks?!?) to arrive at the San Francisco Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant, to wait. Waiting in the juror holding area was luxurious...wifi, tables, room to sprawl & I was pretty much able to go about business as usual. Then there is waiting in the courtroom...cell phones off (no service even if you wanted to be a rebel) trying to read a book as my to-do list scrolls through my mind...over & over. Sweating. Hours later I fill out an 8 page questionnaire & am told to return the following day at 10 am. Walk back to the train attempting to hold my breath through 4 entire blocks and go about my busy day.

Wednesday...ahh Wednesday. As a responsible citizen I report for duty at promptly at 10 am, to wait. Of course, since the plan was to head directly to the courtroom for jury selection, I left my computer & MC blueprints (yes, I hauled everything with me on Tuesday) safe & sound at home. So my productivity was limited to adding items to my to-do list (not helpful), iPhone capabilities...which are slim in SF (thank you AT&T), and my book. Trying my best to get lost in Garlic & Sapphire (by Ruth her!)...but...sweating.

After an hour of waiting, we are called into the courtroom for more waiting & then I painfully listened as 20 jurors were dismissed by the council. Then, instead of starting jury selection we are told of some complications & to return to the courthouse at 1:30. It's now 11:45, and I am stuck in Suckfest without my productive devices and a 30 minute one-way train commute home or to my hourly cubicle. I walk aimlessly debating what in Sam Hill to do with this precious 1.75 hours (yes, the sidewalk still wreaks). Finally, I decide to make the trek home for a quick lunch & to reunite with my computer for 20 mins. Awesome.

Following my lovely half hour at home, it was time to make the trek back to the corner of Strung-out St. & Vomit Way, to wait. Yes, it's true. More waiting in the hallway, no service, no luxurious juror holding area. Sweating...from both my brisk walk in the lovely San Francisco heat wave, and general anxiety about my growing to-do list. We are called back into the courtroom for yet another roll-call, and another 15 jurors are excused by the council. (ahhhhhhh!) Then, get this, we are told that due to some legal matters that have arisen, we are going to have to come back on Monday at 9 am to START the jury selection process. (good-bye flood gates) Wrinkly chin & sweating (now profusely) I wait for everyone to exit & approach the clerk to say something like...

"I cannot come back here on Monday. Can I file for some sort of special starting a small business hardship...see, there's cheese...I mean Mission Cheese...and (sniffle sniffle) needs me."

After grasping the situation, the clerk hands me a hardship form & I write my story of MC & all of the things that need to be done in the next 2 weeks & beyond. Ending with an old-fashioned-blue-book-hand-cramp (do they still use those?) & a sincere declaration of my respect for the judicial system, noting that I have served on a jury in the past & will serve again...but serving now may lead to severe anxiety & high blood pressure.

I hand my plea to the clerk, and she returns to tell me that the judge will not have time to look at it now, and I will have to come in on Monday to hear her decision. I felt the strong urge to throw myself on the ground wailing & pounding in a full-blown tantrum, but as a composed adult, I took my sweaty wrinkly chin self back out to the sidewalks-of-stench and put in a desperate call to Oliver. (lucky guy!) I explain the horrific situation to him as I cry/laugh (but mostly cry) & walk back to the train (that's 4 trips all day). Following Oliver's advice (your the best!) I head straight home to get cracking on my lengthy to-do list...aaaand why not whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies for cozy comfort to be followed by Strauss egg nog & bourbon (duh). In my cookie-making-scurry I dropped the kitchen-aid mammoth mixer on my finger & broke a rubber spatula in half. (somebody pass the bourbon already) Awesome.

Then, somewhere in between cookies & egg nog, I received an "Unknown" call, which happened to be the clerk (eek!) excusing me from duty & wishing me good luck on "the cheese!" (fist pump fist party...fist pump)

We must all learn from this experience (very serious). Cheese saves the day! Always.