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Jury Duty Snow Days

I wanted to serve on a jury, but I ended up fixing a lamp.

I was summoned to serve as a trial juror for the Suffolk County Courts the first week of January. The hockey pucks were still home after the holidays, and I was busy with mom things. It wasn’t a good time for me.

I couldn’t tell the Commissioner of Jurors, “This week won’t work, the puckers need me.”

But I was allowed one extension and could request a week, within the next six months, to serve. I found some time in April when I didn’t have a dental, mammogram, or orthotics appointment and I kept that week clear.

I’ve never been on a jury, but I really want to. I want to be a good citizen. And I’m nosy.

Also, I thought I might get a juicy column out of it. You try finding ideas to write 900 words about every six weeks. It’s not as easy as I make it look.

When April came, I was thrilled to finally serve.

The Suffolk County jury system works thusly: you get a juror ID number and after 5:00 pm on the Friday before the week you serve, you call the Commissioner’s office, and they tell you whether your number needs to report. If you don’t have to report on Monday, you call again after 5 pm.

Each day, you do the same. If they still don’t call your number for Friday, that’s it. You’ve satisfied the jury requirements for the county and won’t be summoned again for six years.

I was hoping I’d get called, but instead found myself on the third Monday in April with nothing to do.

I’m a busy woman. If I flip through my calendar, I’ve got something scheduled in every week for the next few months. Seeing friends and family, doctor appointments, hair maintenance, and house upkeep, plus those everyday chores like cooking and laundry. And, on top of everything else, every six weeks, I have to write this column. It takes me longer than I make it look.

I just don’t have days with nothing to do.

It seems the Commissioner of Jurors had given me the gift of time. A “jury duty snow day” if you will.

If I was a curious 14-year-old, I could have spent the day watching season two of “Bridgerton.” But that’s a waste of found time for adult Tracy. If I couldn’t serve, I’d tackle those tedious things on my to-do list I’ve been avoiding for months.

With hurricane season coming, I changed the batteries in our emergency lanterns. Of course, the task grew. I had depleted my supply of batteries and had to get more. Then I tidied up the cupboard I keep them in. While there, why not reorganize the junk drawer too? Don’t you hate how completing chores only begets more chores?

So that was my Monday morning.

On Monday afternoon, I replaced my easy-to-guess passwords with randomly generated ones. I’ve learned the hard way that “pasSword!#1234” doesn’t protect private information in my account.

While I was changing my Fandango (the movie ticket purchasing app) password, I saw that “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was playing in East Hampton. Mr. Hockey and I decided to go that evening and eat a popcorn dinner. Popcorn dinner with an ice-cold Coke is one of my favorite meals.

Sadly, I recently learned that the East Hampton movie theater had switched from Coke to Pepsi. Popcorn dinner with Pepsi is far from my favorite meal.

I popped out to CVS and bought some small bottles of Coca Cola to smuggle into the theater. At the concession stand, I bought a medium Pepsi (gag) and poured it down the bathroom sink, keeping the ice – I only drink soda with ice. Then I poured in my Coke.

East Hampton movie theater, be advised: I’m doing this from now on. You should’ve spoken to me first.

On Monday evening, I called and learned I didn’t have to report on Tuesday.

Darn! But also, another jury duty snow day!

I brought a broken lamp to the repairman.

I took our unwanted stuff to good will. There’s a joke that suburban women drive around for months with good will bags in their trunks. I prefer to pile it all in the corner, so it nags me whenever I walk by. From a haranguing perspective, it’s much more efficient than the car’s trunk.

I also went to Costco. Did you know Costco’s pharmacy gives COVID vaccines and boosters? If they started doing PAP smears, I’d drop my gynecologist in a heartbeat. Either that or my gynecologist should sell cheap gas and give out free food samples.

Every night that week was the same. I called and was told not to report.

Wednesday, I went to my standing, Wednesday appointments. Not every day can be a snow day.

Thursday, I picked up the fixed lamp. Friday, I taught myself to sew on a button. Then, after taking a half hour to thread the needle, I did it!

I am disappointed I didn’t get to serve on a jury. But good things came from my jury duty snow days. With the working lanterns and lamp, we’ll always have light. My shirts now button completely. And I learned how to smuggle Coke…. Wait, that doesn’t sound right.

I’m lucky I’ll have another chance to be a good citizen/nosy in six years. Then I’ll get my juicy column, you’ll see.

Published in The East Hampton Press on May 12,2022.

Photo by Tracy Grathwohl

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