Twelve years a laze …

It has been a little over a decade now that I have worked from my own home office, first part time and then about five years into it, full time.  I am just discovering  how luxurious that has been.

On Friday, after a long week of suspense, I was selected to be on a jury — I didn’t expect it.  I cannot talk about the trial until it is over and I won’t.  We are not even allowed to share anything with our SOs, so that will be particularly challenging.  But, I am one of those ‘play by the rules’ to the ‘letter of the law’ folks, so my lips are zipped until the end.  The trial is expected to last for awhile. Sigh.choosing an outfit

As I posted way back when I began this blog last summer, I am a creature of schedules, lists, discipline, order and routine.  I am not wild about the unexpected (unless of course, someone wants to lay a very big tax-free check on me, which isn’t likely). So, being summoned to jury duty and there being no way to really avoid it (I am not clever at such things), I found myself pouting and sulky about having to interrupt my life, show up somewhere every day, at a certain time, and put myself through the rigors of the process.

Of course, I dreaded being chosen.  It took all week for them to identify the right panel.  Later, I will tell you about that process, because it was interesting.  I had gone through it once before but was not selected.  It is part random and part strategy by the attorneys involved.  A good selection system, imho.

But what really struck me  was my rather self-centered reaction.  I don’t relish being out of my element, for starters.  This is a heavy responsibility and I am feeling woefully ignorant of actual law, despite a lifetime of exposure to these kinds of things, as a layman.  I truly wish I had taken some law classes and think they should be mandatory for the well-educated citizen. Other than high school civics, I have only a cursory knowledge in this area and that makes me feel inadequate. Who am I to judge anyone?

Then there is all the extra prep involved, pivoting to be in court for the forseeable future. I will have to come up with outfits every single day.  No problem doing that in terms of selection, I have literally at least a hundred of everything.

The problem is the opposite. Now I have to put a public me together again, every day, with a different look, hair included (and my hair, while below the shoulders, is layered and fine — it doesn’t willingly lend itself to too much variety, basically, it is up in a knot or ponytail, or down and annoying). I haven’t had to do that daily for a decade. OK, so now  every afternoon when I get back, I will put the stuff out for the next morning — something I used to have to do, for years. At least it injects some creativity into the situation that relieves the potential tedium of sitting through this trial, something I have never done before.

lunch bagThe other thing.  The food issue and my strategic eating regimen. Ugh.  I ate lunch at the courthouse cafeteria this past week, so I wouldn’t have to leave and go through security twice. The place was shockingly clean and the food prep area was really immaculate, but the selection does not jibe with my vegan tastes, easily.  So I will be bringing my own snacks in an insulated bag (like an eight-year old), that Geoff will put together for me, angel that he is.

For another inconvenience, the commute.  I have to travel out of my comfort zone and buck the hideous LA traffic, twice a day. That was one of the primary reasons I left my last job – being stuck in my car (a great car, all tricked out at the time) for a total of 3 hours a day is not my idea of paradise, I don’t care how exciting the job is. OK, so I will have to suck it up and just put up with that drive.  Technically, you can be sent to jury service anywhere in LA County and it is a huge area.  You practically have to be legless and armless to request a location of convenience, these days.  They just assume you will do what it takes, even if that means three forms of public transportation.  Angelenos are not mass transit fans.  When you get on a bus or train here, well, you saw the movie Speed, so, consider that the template.

Work.  I cannot take assignments while doing this.  Sheesh, as if I am Queen Midas.  It is not just the bank, it is the attitude when you tell people, clients, “No”.  Sure, they can understand, but they go away visualizing an X on your forehead.  Not good sales development.  On the other hand, I am taking my Kindle FHDX with me and have a bunch of great books to read, including a terrific book on how the LA traffic jamJesuits suggest we live our lives.  My reading interests are ‘catholic’, lol, to say the least.  Finishing up Bloodlands by Tim Snyder right now.  The books I like are invariably non-fiction either historical or how-to’s, over 400 pages (ideally 600), small font, fewest pictures (unless there are graphs).  No joke. After nine years of college/grad school, I cannot read anything frivolous — my mind will wander or I tend to skim for the important points (and there rarely are any), so I don’t bother trying any more. There are long breaks during the course of the day at a trial, so I will revel in getting some reading done.

The Jesuit GuideSmall talk.  I hate to admit this, but I am not interested in a lot of palaver with my fellow panel members.  At lunch, I want to eat and read in peace and calm (since I am high strung under the best of circumstances, this will be a tense experience for so many reasons — the last thing I need is a gab-fest.) Why am I feeling so anti-social? I am not sure, because, actually I am an extrovert, so it is a bit of a conundrum. Still working on figuring it out.  I do have Sun in Leo and Moon in Scorpio, maybe that explains it, for those of you familiar with the hermetic paradigms adopted by astrologers. Again, one of the reasons I left my last job was to avoid all the sturm und drang that comes with bosses, co-workers and employees, as well as the interruptions to getting work done, etc. So, I am rusty in the art of pedestrian chit-chat.

Weaning myself away from my devices, which I am usually glued to 18 hours or more per day, will be like withdrawal.  At every break, people immediately jumped on their phones.  It’s either confine myself to my phone or bring my ultrabook along with the Kindle.  Then I would be schlepping so Bloodlandsmuch junk, that moving around is difficult, especially if I do weaken, and get on the cafeteria line here and there.  It is a dicey proposition juggling the tray, the beverage, all my stuff, and the money, etc. I know, because I did it Friday and it almost did my outfit in, lol.

Then, of course, on Wednesday, between selection days, I foolishly decided to skim the pool.  It is ringed by large, flowering trees and they have been dropping seeds, pollen, blossoms like crazy due to our warm winter and early spring and the one solid week we had of torrential rain earlier this year.  Something got to my sinuses and now I either have a cold or an allergy.  So, I was the only one in the courtroom Friday blowing my nose and sneezing. Lovely. I am resting this weekend, staying indoors, and if this thing doesn’t improve I will cave in and take an Allegra — a rare act of desperation, for me, as I shun pharmaceuticals in general.

When I woke up this morning, trying to picture a particular outfit and obsessing on the location of a specific pair of pants, I realized the problem.  I am becoming a lazy recluse!  I loathe sloth and avoidance as a rule and here I am giving a great imitation of a pampered little princess.  I need to buck up and embrace this adventurous foray into the justice system.

woman sneezingToward the end, I will bring my pocket camera and take some pictures of the area surrounding the court complex.  It is quite interesting and I may even sample some of the quaint little restaurants I saw – a reward for being a grown up and doing my civic duty without more grumbling.

And, of course, I know that by doing this, I will be serving democracy, learning something new and maybe appreciating more just how difficult it is when jurors are faced with a life altering decision. Instead of Monday-morning quarterbacking, I will be wrestling with it up close and personal.

None of this is meant with irreverence and serving on a jury is supposed to be a solemn matter.  I intend to treat it that way and find some enjoyment in having a break from work and dusting off my interpersonal talents, in the process.  I am an avid note-taker and want to make sure that wherever the evidence leads, I will go with objectivity and come to wise and fair decisions.

So I may be around a little less than usual, but I will be here whenever I can, reading, commenting and posting on everything except this subject, until it is over.

Images: canstockphoto.com, skidoo.com, amazon.com,123rf.com

paw2014-s

9 Comments on “Twelve years a laze …

  1. The post came up in my reader twice, actually…LOL

    I did not work for two years while in grad school, but many of my courses were online in that regard, so I was home most of the time. While I felt like I maintained a decent appearance during that time, i was thrown any time I had to leave the house, so it was clear something was up. And I did not think going back to work after being off for a mere two years would be anywhere NEAR as difficult as it was! Like you just getting all ready first thing in the morning was a nightmare, and for the first six months I admit I didn’t really bother (wore jeans most days, minimal makeup, sloppy thrown-together outfits). It took about 6 months for me to look in the mirror and go, who the hell is this woman? Then I had to work on getting up earlier, getting immediately into a morning routine of doing makeup and hair, not to mention driving again every day, and I am STILL pathetic when it comes to preparing meals for the workday (I end up ordering from a local sandwich shop almost every day that will do any sandwich as a lettuce wrap). All of these things that used to be so routine to me, having worked every day of my life, it seems, since I turned 16, were completely foreign after only two years off, so i can’t imagine what it must be like for you. And some things never returned entirely – I no longer want to chit chat with co-workers for lunch either, and I now zip right the hell out the door at four on the dot and rarely stay late, whereas I used to stay late all the time.

    Good idea about taking pictures though. I know that’s the one thing that usually gets me through challenging locations and assignments.

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    • Oh thank you! 🙂 I don’t feel as badly hearing this. Very similar experience. I try to look good enough every day so when I venture out in front, I am not hag-like but I don’t want to have to be “on” all the time any more. But, when I worked outside the house I amassed a lot of clothes and accessories so I guess it is good getting them into circulation again. I do like getting dressed up for special occasions, but I am not looking forward to it being every morning again. Yeah, pictures will be lower quality but I do not want to take the big camera bag with all the stuff because it would be in the trunk in what is likely to be very hot conditions. Not good for the camera. The little one can be slipped into my purse for that last day or two, although they won’t let anyone take pictures at or around or in the courthouse, natch.

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  2. Very exciting Beth! You’ve had it good, working from home. This will muster up some empathy for us shlubs that are still stuck doing it. Make the most of the experience, render a just decision – can’t wait to see the pics, too!

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    • Thank you Vera – I feel so petty, complaining. I think the allergy just pushed me over the edge. I am gearing up and at least looking forward to the learning experience and scouting out the photography opportunities in the vicinity. I am sure I will get into a new groove and then be the better for it, after all. 🙂

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  3. I can totally identify with this situation. After 32 years of raising 3 daughters and havining my own faux painting/murals/furniture refinishing business, I am back in the 9-5 world. I have had to up my wardrobe of paint spattered tees and khakis, and learn to blow dry my hair.
    The co-workers in my small office are pleasant, but most days I take my little lunch bag to sit in my car and enjoy the quiet.
    Good luck fighting the traffic. The defendant should thank their lucky stars you are on the jury.

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    • Thank you Diane. I will tell you this is a grueling experience, both the matter being dealt with, which is really serious, as well as the logistics of getting everything done and then falling into bed exhausted every night. How did I do it in the past? Yeah, at the lunch break, I head straight to a particular sunny spot by a window in the lunch room and immediately turn on my devices to read emails, eat my lunch in peace (well, not quite, as I will be posting about this weekend) and just retreat into my own space. That is the only way I can deal with the subject we are considering and also to keep my regular life on track during this forced hiatus. It makes me wonder if this is ‘old age’ setting in, lol!!!

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  4. Reblogged this on An Upturned Soul and commented:
    A stunning post! A rich tapestry of self observation and observation of the self having to venture into the world of others.

    These words – Now I have to put a public me together again, every day… – struck a chord within me which echoed.

    I also work from home, thanks to the age of the internet, and have done for so long enough that I sometimes forget how I lived before.

    Any type of venturing out feels like an expedition – Do I have the right gear to survive this? – even though I live in an area full of reclusive hermits like me.

    It also made me wonder… how many other people are also doing this? Are we all doing it and just don’t know it?

    How many of those others who seem to have it together… are just like us, putting on a show for others? And putting up with others for as long as we have to before we can retreat to that place where we can be ourselves, as is, no bows or frills or correct attire?

    Great post, thank you for sharing!

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    • Thank you for confirming my impressions of this process. One of the things I did when I got my current house, was make sure it was a place I liked to be as much as any vacation spot. Since I have been all over the world and on a good budget when I traveled, I have an idea of what vacation niceties are out there. I feel like my home and yard are a destination, so I don’t mind staying home. The only time I go anywhere, is when we go on our urban photographic safaris, or I have to visit relatives of one sort or another, or shopping. Even shopping doesn’t draw me out much, since I can buy everything from those same stores, online and make fewer impulse purchases in the process, too. I love being at home with the internet, my yard, my pets, my books and hobbies. But, that all said, I am adapting to this jury duty stint and trying to derive as much as I can from it. I so appreciated your reblogging this and your generous praise.

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