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Posts tagged ‘Anxiety’

Jury Duty Duty

Juror 4067

Juror 4067

I prayed for more snow and school closures. Dismayed there were only 2 inches of snow at 11 p.m., I reluctantly set my alarm for 6-ish a.m., knowing I’d snooze it after tuning in to WBAL radio to learn if the City Courts would be closed. My first Jury Duty in Maryland loomed ahead in the morning—a morning after Baltimore suffered an attack of snow.

Handicapped Ramp looking north, uphill, to St. Paul Street

Handicapped Ramp looking north, uphill, to St. Paul Street

Baltimore does not react well to snow. Whether it’s due to being full of Southerners who become panicky at the first flake of the white stuff, or the fact that people are used to driving recklessly (i.e. ”normally”) and get frustrated because icy conditions force them to think twice about passing a right-turning vehicle on the right for a change, driving here after a storm can be fraught with danger and obstacles. Although I thought I’d built in enough travel time to arrive at the Courthouse—after finding the parking garage—by the 8 a.m. call time, I did not factor in how impossibly choked the beautifully plowed I-83 would be at that hour.

Woe, how naïve l am. I’m glad I had a thermos of strong coffee in the car.

“Accessible Entrance on Fayette Street” sign

Jury Duty was still ahead of me and I was worn out from the trip! Less than 10 miles from town, it took me the better part of an hour to get to the parking garage. Waze failed finding an alternate route; actually my phone is on its last leg (phone fail imminent!) and kept shutting down mid-calculation. Fortunately I’d looked at the original directions before leaving home so I wasn’t entirely lost. That is, I wasn’t lost until I started heading toward the Courthouse. I pulled up a map, and intrepidly started the trek … only to find myself four blocks northwest of my destination and panicky because it was 8:35. LATE! will I be fined? Jailed? Told to come back another day?

And then the phone battery died. Again. Time for a new phone, for sure.

Drizzle dappled my non-compliant phone screen. Happily a woman told me which way to walk as her son had been on jury duty last week.

Limping due to a sciatica flare up, I found the building and the Fayette Street entrance with a ramp (which the Jury Summons instructed to use; the building’s address is on Calvert Street). The clerk told me to go out, walk up the block and around the corner, to the St. Paul Street entrance.

St. Paul Street Courthouse Entrance

St. Paul Street Courthouse Entrance

A statue of Cecilius Calvert, Baron Baltimore, etc. (see link for entire title), graces the St. Paul Street entranceway. So does a familiar blue Handicapped Entrance sign—at the bottom of a dozen-or-so steps—directing one to the first entrance I’d tried! I pulled myself up the first flight using the cold, wet handrail. My coat’s belt set off the metal detector, but luckily the sandwiches in my bag passed. I muddled anyway to the jury assembly room at 8:50. I had arrived!

The Jury Summons had assigned me Reporting Number 4067. Happily, by the time I entered, 4000 through 4100 had been invited to line up, check in, and get paid. $15 will cover the parking and the $1.50 diet Pepsi I bought from the machine in the Jury Assembly “Quiet Room.” With a bad case of “dead phone-itis,” I whipped out my extra-long phone card and charger I’d thoughtfully packed, found a plug, and settled down. Hmmm, no wi-fi. Sigh. Now that my “duty” had been done, I was ready for Jury Duty.

Or was I, I wondered?

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Time Sense

I have been waiting too long. They said they’d be here between 11 and 11:30 am and it’s after 12:30 pm. They’re not here. It’s a 2½ hour drive to our destination and I don’t want to encounter traffic or come back too late. I know these people run late and thought I accounted for that when I asked them to pick me up before noon. They run on a different time sense, however.

I distracted myself by uploading photos of these cute baby hats I’ve been making for charity to my Ravelry account. I searched for a book I misplaced. I watched 2 episodes of 30 Rock. I took out the trash. I watered the outdoor planter. I drank some water.

I finally called the more responsible person of the group I was waiting for and said I could not go with them. She said to me, “I can’t go with just the others.” I knew what she meant, capitulated and said OK, I’d go. So here I’m waiting still.

Image: Late by Evan Sharboneau (via Flickr, CC BY-ND)

-/-/-/-/-

They came not much after I wrote the above paragraphs and we were finally on our way. I drove; the trip was uneventful. We avoided three fights in the car by me keeping my mouth shut. We arrived at our destination, did our thing, then headed back. I hate driving west around sunset. We stopped so they could eat. I ate my bag of lettuce in the car, tipped the seat back, and rested my eyes while they dined—the restaurant was not kosher so I came prepared. By the time they finished their dinner the sun had set and night fell. I drove the unfamiliar back roads homeward rather than taking the highway. We played a quiz game someone found on Facebook and laughed at the answers everyone provided.

-/-/-/-/-

I like being on time. On time to me means arriving before, or at the time I agreed to be somewhere. Depending upon community mores, this could be 10 or 20 minutes later than the published time, but it requires a sense of what time means to that specific group. For instance, in my crowd, a New York wedding called for 8:00 pm may not start until 9:30 pm, but a Pittsburgh wedding will start no later than 8:20 pm. It’s something “everybody knows.” There’s the story of the New Yorkers who went to Pittsburgh for a wedding and showed up at NYC time… and missed the ceremony. They just didn’t understand Pittsburgh time.

I’m normally not punctilious to a fault, but compared to these people I was with today, I am an imperious arbiter, running the trains with an iron fist. My more rigid time sense imposes on their free-form, loose and flowing time sense. And therein lies the problem: they will never see my way, and I will never see theirs. This is a no-compromise zone.

So usually I compromise and tell these people to meet me at a time one hour earlier than necessary so that when they arrive “tardy,” it will be the real time I want to meet at. Has my method has been found out? How much longer can I perpetuate this charade?

It’s not that I’m impatient. To the contrary, usually it’s exactly the opposite. I am very “chill,” waiting in line, passing time, being agreeable. I don’t rush, but plan ahead to avoid needing to rush. This talent has grown over the last decade. I got tired of being late, arriving on the brink, thinking of excuses. I changed myself and got discipline. I feel proud of this achievement and it has saved me much aggravations.

Certain situations—and people—push my buttons, though. Repeatedly. This has been going on for a long time. It’s them, not me. I feel I can’t avoid them and their warped molasses sense of time. For now, at least.

Some day I will simply refuse to do anything with that crowd. Or go without me, I’ll tell them. Until then, I will need to breathe deeply, take a few steps away from the cliff, and realize that some old dogs cannot learn new tricks… or how to read a clock.

 

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