I’ve been expecting to be a juror ever since I was called up for jury duty in July.
I’d done jury duty before and loved it. It was sort of like “12 Angry Men,” only it was six men and six women, and they weren’t so angry. They wanted to finish and go home. But any time I’m in a room with that many people stressed because they’re missing their favorite TV shows, I’m amused and bliss out.
So, I was very sad a schedule conflict forced me to defer my duty to this month. Hence, the wait until the great day came.
Tuesday last week I made it through King County Courthouse Checkpoint “Eagle” and found my way to the Jury Assembly Room, where I awaited assembly.
While people were still filing in late, those of us who got there on time got to see the video all about “what is a juror, what is a defendant, what is a plaintiff, what are all those lawyers yapping about and should I pay attention?”
Did you know that when the expert witness says something you could never remember in a million years, you can write it down? Yes! But you’re not supposed to take your eyes off the shifty devil while you do so, because you need to watch their shifty demeanor.
Speaking of shifty devils, after that they showed us another video, this one promoting the excellent idea that we should curb our biases during our time as jurors.
There was one more video about child care services, which I ignored, and then an actual person came out and addressed us all. I think he said he was Todd, and he talked about how there were five court cases pending and he’d let us know which of us got assigned to which case in a bit. At that time, there seemed to be as many as 200 of us in the room and no way they were going to assign more than half of us.
Well, they didn’t assign any of us! The five court cases were settled just before it was time to do the assigning, and everyone in the room got released from jury duty after just watching the three videos. Todd told us our $10 checks for being there would be in the mail.
I would like to take this opportunity to call upon King County to increase that $10 per day for jurors. I looked up the law. The amount hasn’t been increased from $10 since 1975, even though the state now allows up to $35 at the discretion of the counties. It’s just that King County doesn’t feel like it, because King County is cheap. Hear what I’m saying, King County? You’re cheap. You’re a cheap county.
In other King County news, after I got out of jury duty I walked to the Real Change office, where I got to talking with the coworker with all the best scoops (Ainsley), who described something that went on the day before at All Home’s annual conference, which she attended. All Home is King County’s coordinating agency for homeless services. Ainsley said that at one point they sent the minors out of the conference hall, and in came a solo dancer, who proceeded to strip down to a bodysuit and pasties, perform lap dances and sit on laps, and surprise various folks with kisses and whatnot.
At all the conferences I go to, there’s just workshopping and cheesy videos of amateur actors demonstrating why homelessness is bad.
The conference theme was the important topic “Decolonizing our Collective Work.” So important — why only one lap dancer? Is this yet more evidence of how utterly cheap King County is?
I hope the one dancer, Beyoncé Black St. James, who came here all the way from Spokane, was paid well for her work. She made a big impact. Now the interim director of All Home has resigned.
The relevant Seattle Times story shared, “The first person St. James kissed seemed surprised … but the ones following seemed more enthusiastic.”
Sure. Once you realize the lap dancer won’t chew your colonialist face off, you can settle in.
Anyway, that’s what I always say.
Decolonization is tricky, isn’t it?
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at drwes (at) realchangenews (dot) org
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