My Jury Duty Experience During Coronavirus
Update! I'm done! It was another brutal morning with people running late, feedback of audio (see below), cold af, water not working in all bathrooms but I made it out in time for lunch.
Jury duty. Two words that strike fear in the heart of anybody with things to do. However, in the time of Rona, it's even worse. Trust me. I got to experience it today...and guess what, I have to go back tomorrow!
Let's start with the basics. Due to the virus, the selection process is now being held at the River Center. It's the same large room that they hold the Festival of Trees. That was a joyous event. This is not.
Of course, everyone is masked up and 6ft apart. No issues there and at no time did anybody complain about it either. So I appreciate everyone being civilized about that one.
Since we are all 6ft apart, we can't use our body heat to warm each other. It was freezing. I know, you are like "OK Houston boy it was probably fine". No, it wasn't. I looked around and nearly everyone else was shivering. When we got back from lunch, people had brought in more jackets and blankets. Blankets. I realize the government is broke, but come on. Keep us warm. At the very least, turn off the fans that are circulating the cold virus filled air.
Next up we have the audio. As a radio guy, I'm a sound guy. I realize this is kind of a new set up for them. However, can you please beta test this before 100 people have to be in the room at 8:30 on a Monday morning. First the audio was only on 1/2 the room with a terrible echo. It's a big square concrete room. What do you expect. Then, they got it working to fill the entire room. Yay! However, can you hire an audio engineer. If you don't you'll need an entire new jury because we are all deaf. At two points during the process the feedback blew out our ears. The first time they got it shut off mildly quick. The second time, nobody was by the mics. So it was squealing until somebody could run up and fix it. If we have to distance and listen to an audio presentation, make it something that sounds good please.
Oh, then when we got back from lunch all the lights on one side of the room went out. I don't think anybody fell asleep...but I could be wrong.
Now let's discuss the reason I was actually there. The process of selecting jurors. As I sit in the crowd watching the lawyers grill these potential jurors it makes you realize even more, they are just looking for people that will will side with them. OK fine. That is how the judicial system is set up. However, this takes place in front of everyone! Now I didn't get a chance to speak (yet) but you can feel some of the people that are up there, in front of the crowd, are terrified. Why can't this all be done in private and in a an order that makes sense. I felt like we were sitting there waiting for the Hunger Games horn to blow.
I'm an efficient guy. I have things to do and I work fast to get them done. Which is why this was infuriating. The slow pace of people walking up to the front. The incredibly slow pace of people walking to the back over and over. The seating. The reseating. Why did 70% of us have to waste an entire day waiting for you. Can't we do this in waves? Can't we do this like 2020 and just do a Zoom call? Everything else is video calls. I think we need to do this over video as well to keep everybody safe. Yeah. Keep em safe, that sounds like a good reason!
If the government expects us to serve our "civil duty" then you need to serve us in a respectful and humane manner. At least they let you have your phone. Be sure to bring a battery backup. Cause you will suck all the life out of the battery....just like they sucked the life out of me today.