Mmm, Jurors…

The most valuable thing I learned today at jury duty is to never throw away my lunch voluntarily.

It’s my first time ever on jury duty. I reported this morning at 8:30 in Jamaica Center and noticed immediately signs posted all over the entrance to the courthouse: “NO FOOD OR DRINK IN THIS BUILDING.”

I took a quick few gulps of the bottle of water I was carrying and tossed it in a nearby trashcan.

Now, I had packed a lunch this morning. In fact, doing so, coupled with the disorienting break in my routine, had nearly made me late to the courthouse. I briefly considered stashing certain pieces of it in my coat pockets, but I thought better of it, in view of the x-ray machines. They’d find it anyway. Rather than be the dummy who didn’t read the signs in the eyes of the security guards, I thought it better to dispose of it altogether. So I dropped my perfect, neatly packed brown bag into the can. Thunk! A bagel with cream cheese, celery sticks, four Oreo cookies, a banana and an orange — wasted.

For much of the day afterward, I was completely distracted, you might say “obsessed,” in retrospect by this decision.

  1. I hate throwing away food on principle. For me, it’s a question of morality. I eat all leftovers. I clean my plate.
  2. I was almost late to court for making the damn thing in the first place.
  3. The kicker: On the other side of the security checkpoint, people blithely strolled around with McDonalds and bagels and coffee and bags of this and that as if there had been no signs.

So, not only did I feel totally morally compromised, I also felt stupid for throwing money away and being duped by a completely fake rule. To boot, rather than scold these rampant food-carryers, the officer who gave us all our instructions told us that we could leave to get food at any time — and bring it back to the juror lounge! We just couldn’t bring glass bottles in. Whoop-ti-do.

So, what were those signs for?

I hate them.

Apparently the security guards don’t take them seriously, either: One such sign had been amended with a piece of paper, a Sharpie and some scotch tape to read: “NO FOOD OR DRINK IN THIS BUILDING — EXCEPT JURORS.”

So, I bought myself a lunch across the street later on. And rather than bring it inside the building, I sat outside on a slab of granite and ate it there. It was 20 degrees outside, but it was actually rather pleasant in the sun when the wind died down.


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the untallied hours

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