It always surprises me how much time can stretch and race. The 6 hour drive to DC wasn’t that bad, but the drive back was pretty much torture.
Shmoocon ended around 4, and Matt and I decided to eat down the street rather than try and wrestle with the post-con traffic at the hotel. That was actually an excruciatingly late lunch, which was fortunately quite tasty, but it meant we didn’t actually start to leave the area until around 5. Assuming no stops, which is idiotic, that would have got us home around 11pm.
Matt and I were both pretty exhausted. Matt gave an awesome talk, which I’ll spend more time on tomorrow, and we were both up pretty late the night before. Even though we weren’t all that hungry, we stopped for dinner a couple hours into the trip because there’s a whole lot of nothing between DC and Cleveland. The next stop with anything worth eating would have been Pittsburgh, and by the time we’d made it there nothing would have been open. So we stopped early, and then hit a coffee shop to load up on podcasts for the trip and get some caffeine for Matt, who already clearly needed it. Then it got weird.
Our friend Jack left DC at least an hour later than we did, but somehow he ended up stopping for gas at the same time and place we stopped for coffee. We ended up chatting and laughing for quite a while and by the time we left the coffee shop it was somehow 10pm. We’re glad we did, it was a good way to wind down, relax, but it did put us considerably off the clock.
That’s about when I remembered jury duty.
I’m scheduled for jury duty this week. I was sort of hoping, strongly, that my number just wouldn’t be called, but when I checked on my phone, sure enough, I was told to report to the courthouse at 8:30 am. I’m just on the edge of my county so the courthouse is 45 minutes away, so with a 2 am estimated home arrival that prospect wasn’t thrilling.
We listened to podcasts, but I don’t think either of us really had energy enough to pay much attention. At about midnight, just after we passed over the border to Ohio, Matt started to fade. He was actually keeping awake ok, but he told me he was having a hard time seeing; his eyes were so tired they wouldn’t focus. I was slightly better off, I could see straight at least, but I can’t drive stick and didn’t particularly want to try to learn on the highway.
So we stopped at a hotel. We did the math, painfully, and set the clock for five hours later. Matt slept lightly, but enough to refresh him for the remaining drive. I hardly slept at all.
We left plenty of padding for me to get to the courthouse which naturally meant that I was there just barely on time. It was shockingly crowded. I ended up sitting down the hall because all the called jurors wouldn’t fit in the room. Twice, we were shepherded aside to let through chain gangs. It was weird.
My name was in the second group of jurors called. With thirty people, I sat in a courtroom that looked more like an elaborate board meeting room. This was a civil trial, which I’m assuming I’m not allowed to talk about, though who knows. I liked the judge instinctively, disliked one of the lawyers just as instinctively. The chairs were surprisingly comfortable, and the process was actually more interesting than I expected. We were questioned about our ability to make an unbiased decision. I think I might have understood everything better if I’d had enough sleep. As it turns out, not having enough sleep is actually considered an “extreme hardship” in your ability to sit through a trial. I was dismissed for other reasons I think, and in fact I could hear the lawyers whispering and I’m pretty sure my name was the first one mentioned as no-way-in-hell. Impressive, don’t you think?
I actually wouldn’t mind serving on a jury sometime when I’ve had more sleep, but I’m not sure I’m well suited to being a juror. I’ll talk about why sometime this week maybe. Interesting or not, I hope I don’t get called in again this week. And now, I’ll end my incoherence, and go to bed.