These were the words Chip and I heard at 8:45 this morning standing just inside the doorway at the county courthouse. (Yes, we were called together) A blizzard was raging outside on this fine April morning as we waited in line, snow mounting on our shoulders, ready to do our civic duty as jurors.
While waiting for the courthouse to open, we jurors were huddled somewhat together chatting about being called, the strain it puts on our businesses and colleagues and more importantly our families. On a scale of 1 to 10, the enthusiasm meter was at about a 2. Yet interestingly enough, jury duty is arguably the cornerstone of our legal system in the United States …trial by a jury of your peers. It is an important responsibly of being a citizen yet people would rather have a root canal.
As I looked around, I saw some old high school friends, two ladies from the gym and a few fellow parents within my community. Things are starting to relax and I am almost to the metal detector.
The woman in front of me is unloading her bags onto the conveyor belt ready to be scanned. The Court Officer does his thing, “Please remove all items from your pockets including keys, cell phone etc. and place them in the bucket to be scanned.” Now this woman looks back at me for a second and seems somewhat hesitant but squares her shoulders, reaches into her pockets and pulls out about 6 tampons in wrapped in lovely pink and purple paper. The Officer looks in the bin and is struggling with what to say or do. So he does nothing.
The Officer returns to put my items through the machine and I said, “You have a great story to tell your wife tonight!” He had no response and just wished this would end. She and I, however, are laughing like crazy.
As I placed my bag on the belt, I thought about the contents of my own bag: pepper spray blanketed safely by my rosary along with a holy medal of Saint Agatha, Patron Saint of healing breast cancer. I also carry a tampon and pad even though I had a hysterectomy in 2004. No worries, Beth, I had your back in case he confiscated the goods!
Now we are still laughing while being body scanned, through the check in process and all the way to our seats. I tell her about this blog and that this episode would be tonight’s post. She hands me a piece of paper with her name on it and I give her my card… and here we are.
The defendant took a plea and we were excused late morning. A sigh and even some low level clapping ensued upon this announcement. When I got to work, I shared this ‘tampon story’ with a coworker who told me about her hideous belt that she was asked to remove when entering a courthouse. She described how she covertly slid the belt off, wrapped it in a ball and dropped it in the bucket to be scanned, “like some sort of contraband”. At the end of the belt, no pun intended, she grabbed her accessory and sped off.
Don’t we all have stories similar to this? A man-handle type airport security guard or perhaps a Syracuse University basketball game guard where a college kid opens your purse and rummages through it. It needs to be done, sadly, and I am glad that it is getting done but oh, we better think twice about what resides in our handbags ladies.
The Sergeant who addressed our pool of possible jurors explained the need for the Magnetometers (Walk through Metal Detectors) and a few other house keeping items. At the end of his talk, he said “You might just learn something and you might just make a friend!” Well he was right. You know what? I love jury duty!
For a read of last year’s failed attempt at jury duty, click here.