Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Baby Steps to Adulthood

Just a screencap of this cray-cray nightmare I had last night, where I was a naked baby living in a giant's hand.

Being halfway through my 24th year of living and breathing and voraciously eating (or, technically, my 25th year), I’m slowly beginning to understand what this “ageing” thing is about. It always used to make me laugh when my grandmother, a very elderly woman in pretty poor health, would groan out from underneath her respirator “I may be 82… but I feel like a teenager!”, while simultaneously shitting the bed and flat-lining. But considering I’ve had the body of a 45-year-old woman since the age of 14, I guess I didn't notice that "ageing" was sneaking up on me.

Truth is, I still rarely feel like an “adult” with “responsibilities.” Sure, I’ve held the same 9-5 job for over three suicide attempting years, and yes, I pay my rent on time and completely support myself. And yes, my loan company leaves deceivingly sweet messages on my machine, something like (very perky, Southern accent, syrupy but spoken by a robot) “Hi!! This is Taaaaaaammy, your personal loan consultant!! (picturing Tammy in a friendly electric blue power suit, one oversized 24K gold button, big teased hair, hot pink neon devil horns) Please give us a call, so we can discuss the [male robot voice: nine hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars] you currently owe us! (molasses) Thaaaank youuuu!!”

Tammy, my Sallie Mae loan supervisor.

But other than bill paying/dodging/shredding-and-FedExing-
to-Staten-Island-landfills, there were very few things that made me feel like a real life, true grown up. Voting? Not really. Being shoved head-first into a cab by a bear-like but ultimately gentle bouncer who found your lifeless, drunk body in a ditch outside of the bar? Doesn't cut it. Discovering baby fine wrinkles at the corners of your eyes, noticing that the extra bulk around your midsection feels... different? Less firm, or something? MMMMmffflabby? Finding yourself subconsciously drawn to higher-waisted jeans, longer shirts, bras welded together from steel? Again, it’s a slow creep, but overall, I still feel fairly irresponsible and childish and carefree and optimistic and dream-ridden and, well, basically the same oversized dumb retard I’ve been since babytime.

Then something happened this week that seriously threw me over the cliff of adolescence and down the long, rocky fall to permanent adulthood.

I’ve been summoned for JURY DUTY.

Even the PAPER that the Summons was printed on was all adult and shit. Opening it was like figuring out the combination to the Hellraiser puzzle-box: Pull this tab, fold that, perforate this, slice open that. Once opened, it’s a complete form funhouse. Tab A, tab B, some sort of “ballot”, and a nametag that basically says “Hello, my name is 'Juror.'”

In a way, I was relieved to receive it. In college, I always deferred serving because of school, and since graduating and not receiving any notice at all, I was sure there was a warrant out there for my arrest. And while we've ALL had fantasies of being brutally knocked unconscious by a prison guard in the cafeteria, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to "body lice", and also "jail".

So... Jury duty!! What’s it like?! I turned to Google for help. Here’s what I found out, from a website called Jury Duty 101 (be warned, there are a million pop-ups, and they all talk about “G-d”).

The site starts off on an intimate note: "JUROR TO JUROR" ADVICE & INFORMATION. I like this "juror to juror" thing, makes me think I’m in a secret clubhouse.

To quote the site:

The official envelope greets you from the inside your mailbox -"SUMMONS FOR JURY SERVICE." 'Great,' you think to yourself.

The summons leaves you with more question than answers. As an ordinary person, I understand. I've been there. To answer those many unanswered questions about jury duty, I took notes during my case and assembled them here. There are a lot of official web sites maintained by the courts. This is an unoffical site written by a juror.

Already, to me, this sounds like a commercial mudslinging a political candidate. “Jury duty says that you only have to show up for two days... Why don’t you ask the jurors on the Laci Peterson trial what they think of that, Jury Duty?”

The site goes on to give you tips for not serving on a jury... a highlight reel:

You are over 70 years old.


You are a volunteer firefighter, rescue squad member or ambulance crew member.

You must care for young children or elderly adults, if your absence will put them at risk.

Check. Check.

You are so important to the operation of a business that your absence will cause that business to fail.


You do not have a car and are unable to use public transportation.

Ohhh, close, but my “master” just got me a comicly undersized bicycle.

I could always get out of serving by answering all my questions like this:

Lawyer: "Please state your name."

Me: "Death Penalty."

Lawyer: "And your age?"

Me: "Death Penalty."

Lawyer: Do you have any biases towards any races?

Me: (high pitched) Mmmmmmm.... (nodding)Death penalty.

But let's cut to the chase: What am I going to wear?! No need to fear, random Googled website is here:


People in the courtroom will be well dressed. Attorneys and defendants will be wearing business suits, skirts/jackets or other "semi-formal" attire.

Interesting, but I’m not shocked. Lawyers can be little preening peacocks sometimes, just like the rest of us.

Jury members will generally wear "business casual" clothing (polo shirts, kakis, pants, blouses.) Tip--Going to court is an unusual experience. You may feel more comfortable dressing "up" (more formally), at least for your first day at the courthouse. You will be making first impressions. The court will be assessing you. It helps to be well dressed.

I am going to be SO dressed to impressed. I'm also going to prepare my Streisand medley, "Don't Rain on My Memories, You Guilty Kind of Fool."

Moving on...


When you arrive at the courthouse you may feel you've entered a different world.

The site goes on to discuss the jury selection process, and what happens once you’re chosen for a jury (which I am truly hoping to avoid). I won’t get into the details now. If you’re dying to learn more about NY Jury Selection, tune into their 25 MINUTE LONG instructional video, no doubt made by Peter Jackson’s half-bastard step-brother. But rest assured, I will give a lengthy report following my jury duty experience (coming up in March)... unless you want to fast forward a month, then read about my experience here!


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