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I had a very long day at the courthouse on Monday. I had only gotten four hours of sleep, to start off.

Riding the bus is always interesting, especially in the morning. I was at the corner when the bus pulled up, and decided that if I missed it, no big deal; if I made it, I was to take it as intended. (I'd planned on taking the next latest bus, but I was early out the door.) I wanted to take a nap, but sometimes you just can't sleep on the bus. Today's features included two people who mostly talked about cruises and booze, although the conversation later turned to other things somewhere past Indian School.

I got off the bus just before Jefferson, and got thoroughly turned around when I came to the corner where I was supposed to be. I had to turn my map around four times just to make sure I was where I thought I was. I do not recall the blasted map having a North-indicator on it, which would have made things ever so much nicer. I ordinarily don't have so much trouble orienting myself, and I got very scared. Is that how normal people feel with maps?

Next time I have jury duty, I will remember to make sure that all my metal comes off quickly. I hadn't considered that I would have to go through metal detectors; fortunately, I only had on a small ring and the pendant that I only take off rarely in addition to the shiny necklace from amberite.

I was there early. My timing was impeccable: I got to watch on the live news as SpaceShipOne and the White Knight flew up and up and up, then SpaceShipOne dropped off and lit her flame and kept soaring ever higher, then took the long glide back down. I was glad that I'd brought a handkerchief: my eyes were leaking unashamedly. I very much wished that there had been more of us around watching so that I could have talked, just then, with someone who understood.

I tried to settle down with a book after the tension of seeing who would be asked to try and serve on the jury for a four-week trial (they'd gotten enough people before I was called) and the overprofessionalism of the orientation video, but the lure of Beethoven (well, OK, seeing David Duchovny's name in the credits and not remembering his character and wanting to watch it for that) was too much.

Intermittently, I wished I had a camera phone, because there was a large window at the end of the jury room where I'd settled. The window looked out on the West entry of that corner of the court complex, an entry where no smoking signs (with the effective hours, before and after business hours) were posted. I had a perfect shot lined up: one of the security officers responsible for screening entrants to the building, in full uniform, standing in an attitude of contempation, cigarette in mouth, as she examined the bicycle that was locked to the railing in defiance of the standards on bicycle parking; behind her on the wall, the no smoking sign. It was beautiful. Nature lines up these things, and then I do not have the tools to grasp it and share.

I'd forgotten what a ham David Duchovny is.

I noticed in the bathroom mirror that I am very pretty today. Incidentally, the women's bathroom in closest proximity to the jury room is far too small, having only four stalls to serve at least fifty people, all of whom usually want to use the bathroom at the same time.

Lunchtime came with me still not selected. I was relieved, and a little disappointed. We were given an hour and forty-five minutes for lunch, all told; I was back with half an hour to spare. I decided on the quiet room, after attempting to read through a very loud, very obnoxious, very heartwarming movie involving a cross-cultural marriage gone sour and then reconciled. (He was Anglo, she was Mexican, he was married to his career, she was pregnant, she pretended that she'd lost the baby and told him to leave and filed divorce paperwork, he finally decided that he wasn't going to leave and tracked her down, they had a screaming row in the middle of a dam blocking traffic, she had the baby right then and there as they reconciled.) No sooner had I gotten back into my book in the quiet room than jury selection began again.

I wasn't chosen for the first batch. I was beginning to hope that I could just stay there, reading quietly with my headache and exhaustion, but I was called for the second batch.

There was interminable standing around: first we waited as the rest of the 30-some potential jurors were called up from the jury room, then we stood around in the hall in front of the court room upstairs. Two of the ladies in front of me were chatting quite a bit. They were both very recent brides. One of them was younger than I am, and the other one was a grandmother. That was interesting, and very sweet. Then we got to sit around and go through the questions. Quite a few of the other potential jurors were very interesting people, or, at least, had very interesting backgrounds, or were able to make it interesting when talking about it. I decided that my roommates counted as spouse-equivalents, since I'm fairly close to them and I've been living with them for a long time. This trial touched on an issue that I had to deal with in conjunction with That Idiot Shawn. I had to very honestly tell the judge that while I would like to be impartial, in this case I didn't trust myself to be. That's a difficult admission to make.

My headache slightly receded after the court recessed: I got a chance to take something and get some water. The 8th floor women's bathroom only has two stalls. I was the last one out of there, and touched up my lipstick and re-pinned my barrettes. Then I joined the rest of the jury in sitting along the long hallway. Very few people took the opportunity to go outside. We were marshaled back inside by the bailiff; she didn't do a nose-count, and (amusingly) the two brides were late; they were also called to be on the jury; there was general amusement when they were both missing when called, and then came in late.

I was not selected, to no one's surprise.

I rode the bus home, electing to pay my own way rather than get a return bus ticket and forfeit my mileage pay; all told, the mileage pay is more than the round trip on the bus, but won't quite cover lunch. The boys in the back of the bus were talking about cellphones.

I came home, sat down at the computer and caught up with the day, then hit bed with my book. I fell asleep shortly thereafter. Now I'm going to go back to bed again, and probably sleep until it's time to get up for my shift at work.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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