I am writing this blog post from a basement room in the Somerville, MA courthouse. I’m seated in the worlds most uncomfortable plastic chair, surrounded by beige concrete walls, and was just informed there is no Wi-Fi in the building.
I am a mom on Jury Duty, and I’m not very excited about it.
I get it. Jury Duty is our civic obligation. It is a big responsibility and a privilege to participate in our justice system. And if I was in this position five years ago, I’d be kind of excited. In fact, when I was in graduate school I sat on a trial and for the 7 hours I was there, it was actually pretty cool. It was the closest experience to Law and Order I hope I’ll ever get.
But now that I am a parent of two young children, with big responsibilities outside of taking care of myself, and a laundry list of to dos that could circle the courthouse, Jury Duty feels more like a pain in the ass than a honor.
The anxiety began long before my day in court. You see, I originally was called to serve on what would have been 5 weeks after my daughter was born. Sorry, not happening, unless you want a super hormonal, sleep deprived lady pacing the court room halls with her crying baby. I was able to postpone and chose a date that would hopefully not coincide with nursing. Because it’s hard enough to be a nursing mom at work, I can’t imagine the look on the court clerk’s face when I asked him where I can pump.
“Yes, sir, that’s right. I need a private place where I can suck milk out of my breasts every three hours today. Can you point me to the nearest broom closet?”
But boobs and crying babies aside, there are all the f-ing logistics I needed to figure out to get here. First, work has been insanely busy so I had to put in extra hours in the evening to get some tasks off my desk. Then Tony needed to reschedule a meeting so he could drop the kids off at daycare, and I needed to coordinate the back up’s back up plan (aka my mom) for pick up, in case he got stuck at work. And don’t get me started on the scramble to secure and extra “just in case” car seat. Then there is the fact that they don’t allow cell phones inside the court house, which of course means I will spend all day in a panic that there may be an emergency at school, and no one will be able to reach me.
But as I sit here among my peers, most of whom have other places they’d rather be too, there is this slight but palpable sense of unity among us. We’re all in this unhappy place together, which helps a little. Also, they just told us we can break for coffee and the only option is Dunkin' Donuts, so if that isn’t the best excuse to binge on Munchkins, I don’t know what is!