How to Be…Civil (or 119 thoughts I had as an almost-juror)
by Lindsay Timmington
9: 10 am: Good God, what is this? A holding pen? How many people are in this un air-conditioned underground, government lair?
9:12 am: 32.
9:26 am: Hang on. Do we just sit here all day and wait to be called up? Okay, maybe Prospective jury duty-ing isn’t so bad.
9:28 am: I like this desk.
9:31 am: I am going to be SO productive! I’m going to get so much done!
9:32 am: I wonder what’s happening on Facebook.
9:33 am: I should check Instagram too.
9:34 am: And maybe my horoscope.
9:48 am: Do they have a WELCOME TO JURY DUTY video playing right now? Did they just say a courtroom trial is like dramatic theatre and an ‘awesome opportunity?’ This is CIVIL COURT, people.
9:51 am: I definitely should have had oatmeal for breakfast.
9:57 am: What in the world is this lady next to me reading? Hey pumpkin, tilt that book in my direction.
9:58 am: OH MY GOD. HER BOOK IS CALLED ‘CAT DADDY.’ SHE IS READING A BOOK CALLED ‘CAT DADDY.’
9:59 am: I wonder how many cats she has?
10:02 am: I bet 7. At least.
10:03 am: Don’t throw stones, Linds.
10:31 am: The woman in charge of the jury sheep pen looks and sounds like the receptionist from Monster’s Inc. What the fuck was her name? I hope she slithers across the room like her animated doppelgänger would.
10:32 am: Disappointing. That was disappointing, Monsters Inc. doppelgänger lady.
10:42 am: Who the fuck are these two broads in the corner? Laverne and fucking Shirley? Did you two chatty ladies know each other before this ‘awesome opportunity?’ Is there an option to bring your BFF to jury duty because THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME.
10:43 am: I really don’t like Laverne and Shirley sure is smug but she has some really nice Pantene hair.
10: 44 am: I’m out of hairspray.
10: 50 am: Smug Shirley is sure quiet. Smug Shirley sure is quiet. How could I make that a tongue twister? Surely smug Shirley surged through surely. Nope. Nope. Didn’t work. Why aren’t we moving along here?
11:00 am: Oh? We’re finally going up? You think we should get this show started? No, no—courtroom cop, the pleasure is ALL MINE.
11: 01 am: WAIT WHAT?! Only water is allowed in the courtroom? What do you mean I CAN’T TAKE MY COFFEE IN WITH ME?!
11:02 am: #&%$@&coffee#%&@*%coffee$&%@#coffee#$@
11:10 am: Why are there 17 children with DUNKIN DONUTS COFFEE on laptops at the tables next to our sheep pen!?
11:15 am: The guy next to me just said ‘word’ after we were sworn in and I’m pretty sure that’s not right.
11:17 am: Where’s Cat Daddy Lady?
11:19 am: Found her! I see you Cat Lady Daddy!
11:23 am: This judge is cool. She’s all like ‘yea I’m rocking an eighties-style daffodil yellow blazer so hardcore.’
11:24 am: WAIT. Is that an urn on her desk? No, that can’t be right. God, it really looks like an urn though. Maybe it’s her husband. Oh, man that’d be a sad story. She’s so heartbroken without him she brings him to work everyday and look at her still smiling and wearing her daffodil yellow blazer. I love her.
11:31 am: OH MY GOD THOSE CHILDREN ARE LAW STUDENTS.
11:35 am: They’re only calling us up 6 at a time?! And it’s random?! But there 32 of us in here!
11:37 am: OH MY GOD IT IS RANDOM. The lady with the official jacket on is pulling our Juror ID Ballots out of a fucking bingo twirler thing-a-majig. What are those things called? A bingo bowl? No, that’s not right. What the fuck is it—HEY! Don’t call CAT DADDY LADY UP! I NEED HER!
11:45 am: Where’d the courthouse coffee cop go?
11:47 am: This courtroom is big. Have I ever been in a courtroom before? I don’t think so.
11:50 am: What was the name of that courtroom show in the eighties? The one with the tall bald guy? Night Court? That sounds right.
11:51 am: OH! There he is. In the corner. WAIT ONE HOT MINUTE THERE, TOOTS. IS HE EATING?! That sonofabitch is EATING and he wouldn’t even let me have my coffee? NO WAY, MAN. THAT IS NOT COOL.
11:53 am: CAT DADDY LADY WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Put your damn hand down. NO NO NO NO NO don’t take her outside for a private conversation lawyers! NO NO DON’T YOU DO IT!
11:54 am: Bye Cat Daddy Lady. Please come back.
11:56 am: I wish I could see what he was eating. What are you eating MR. COP!? I see you eating and you told us not to and please please can I just have a bite? Even if it’s meat-based I’ll just pick that shit off. Man, you know what would taste so good right now? Freedom. Or a donut.
11:59 am: WHY ARE THE LAWYERS BACK IN WITHOUT CAT DADDY LADY?
12:00 pm: Where is Cat Daddy Lady!?
12:01 pm: I feel like Kate must have felt when Leo let go of the driftwood that surely could have fit both of them.
12:02 pm: I’m so mad. MAD! How do I express this so everyone knows?
12:03 pm: Hey! See me?! I’m sighing loudly. And leaning forward and putting my head in my hands! See how angry I am!?
12:07 pm: HEY, baby law students. I am pretty sure this case is not about Facebook or ESPN.com or DIY manicures and your split ends so maybe you should PAY ATTENTION. Because if I have to you have to.
12:09 pm: I wonder if the lady next to me can hear my stomach growling.
12:13 pm: Hey, Laverne and Shirley. When the courthouse cop who didn’t bring enough to share with the rest of the class puts his finger to his lips it means ZIP IT, YO.
12:15 pm: WAIT WHAT?! You’re only keeping ONE juror?!
12:16 pm: #*$&%%$$#%@catdaddylady%$%#%@^@^.
12: 17 pm: 26.
12: 18 pm: They didn’t call my name.
12:20 pm: I miss Cat Daddy Lady.
12:23 pm: How did I not notice all the plants in this courtroom? I wonder how many there are? I should count.
12:24 pm: 19!
12: 27 pm: I’m going to be here all day.
12:30 pm: Oh my god, it’d be so funny to see New Jersey lawyer ‘bend and snap’ right now. He OWES me after getting rid of Cat Daddy Lady.
12:31 pm: What’s the name of the blonde lady who was in ‘Legally Blonde?’ She was so funny in ‘Best in Show.’
12:32 pm: ’We both like soup and peas. And talking. And not talking.’
12:33 pm: I love Christopher Guest.
12:35 pm: YEAH BITCHES CLOSE THOSE INTERNET BROWSERS WHEN THE JUDGE WALKS OVER TO YOU. Looking at you, chive.com!
12: 45 pm: OH MY GOD THEY ONLY TOOK TWO OF THEM. How many of us are left?
12:46 pm: 14.
12:47 pm: pleasecallmynamepleasecallmynamepleaseallmynamepleasecallmyname
12:50 pm: $&#%&$&@*#*$*(@(*#*$^@%#*$*#.
12:51 pm: I hate everybody.
1:00 pm: Fuck you smug Shirley and Laverne. Fuck you getting to leave before lunch break.
1:05 pm Did they say anything about alcoholic beverages over lunch?
1:06 pm I can’t.
1:07 pm Can I?
1:08 pm: No. Just sit outside and eat your lunch.
1:32 pm: PIGEONS!
1:33 pm: ’Doin’ the…coo-coo PIGEON. Doin the..coo coo PIGEON everyday! Okay feet. Do your stuff! I’m groovin’ now! Too much.’
1:53 pm: What the fuck? Where did this stain come from? Damn it, Lindsay. This is why you don’t wear white.
2:00 pm: Good God, where did that hour go? I have to go back into the Central Juror Holding Cell.
2:01 pm: I should have had a drink with lunch.
2:04 pm: Wait a second. Hot cop you’re not going to peek in my purse? Wait—I’m sorry. ARE YOU Tinder swiping right now? Wait, Tinder hot-cop! You can swipe right. RIGHT NOW!
2: 08 pm: How many of us are left?
2:09 pm: Still 14.
2:17 pm: I should have had a drink with lunch.
2:26 pm: Judge Judy is on in the Juror’s Holding Room.
2:27 pm: Meta.
2:35 pm: No! Don’t change the channel, Monster’s Inc! I wanna hear about whether he actually proposed to her on the beach or not and if she owes him the price of the Jared discount ring he put on layaway for her.
2:49 pm: Okay. Here we go. Got my seltzer water and a semi-hopeful attitude. They’ll call my name. I’ll get dismissed. No question.
2:51 pm: STOP LOOKING AT ME BABY LAWYERS! I know there’s only 14 of us left! I know!
2:56 pm: How did I not notice Bingo Jury Puller Lady’s blazer? Is that an official court emblem or a fashion choice?
2:58 pm: Which would be worse?
3:09 pm: For the love of Laverne and smug Shirley, SAY MY NAME.
3:10 pm: callmynamecallmynamecallmynameSAYMYNAMEBLAZERBITCH.
3:13 pm: #$&%*@&#^*#&@%#&$((*@&#.
3:14 pm: There’s six up there. And just two of us left in the pool and they need two more people and oh my god, I have a better chance of winning the Hamilton lottery than getting dismissed from this jury.
3:15 pm: OHMYGOD.
3:16 pm: Is this a number’s game?
3:17 pm: THIS IS A NUMBER’S GAME!
3:18 pm: What is THAT stain from?? C’mon Lindsay. Seriously?
3:20 pm: I’m so fucking bored. I can’t take out my phone. I can’t take out my laptop. I can’t take out my book.
3: 24 pm: I should do some kegels.
3:26 pm: 50!
3:27 pm: 50 fucking kegels, bitches! Wait. How many kegels are you SUPPOSED to do?
3:28 pm: Fuck. Now I have to pee.
3:29 pm: Aren’t kegels sposed to make you NOT pee?
3:30 pm: Am I doing these right?
3:34 pm: OHMIGOD. THEY ONLY PICKED ONE JUROR.
3:35 pm: #*$&%$%#$@*#&*$^#@.
3:36 pm: There’s still one spot on the jury.
3:37 pm: There’s two of us left.
3:38 pm: WAIT A SECOND SO IT’S LEGIT DOWN TO HER AND ME?! Oh, I am so sorry sweetheart you were so nice to watch my bag while I went to the bathroom but I’m gonna own your ass on the stand.
3:40 pm: Cute shoes, by the way.
3:41 pm: Well, hello New Jersey-bend-and-snap-lawyer. No, how are YOU?
3:42 pm: Yes, you CAN call me Ms. Timmington.
3:43 pm: Sure, I’ll answer some questions.
3:44 pm: I would ABSOLUTELY like to chat in private.
3:45 pm: WAIT.
3:45 pm: Wait, Linds. Let’s think about this a minute. Maybe this IS a an ‘awesome opportunity.’ Maybe this is ‘the greatest act of civil service you can perform short of military service.’ Maybe this is something that could be a great story later.
3:46 pm: You have your ace in the whole.
3:47 pm: You’ll do anything for a story.
3:48 pm: #$*%&$%#%@^@^$*^@%@$&$%#%@.
3:49 pm: Nah. I’m good.
4:02 pm That’s right, bend-n-snap—I’m glad you appreciate my candor and you’re welcome for my time—but that’s right—
4: 03 pm: DISMISSED.