Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Dreaded Day

I was at the courthouse at 7:50 in the morning; went through security, just like at airports, without any hitch. There were already a handful of people waiting by the jury assembly room, which at this time was still locked. In a few minutes one of the staff came to open the door and we all walked in. I took one of the second row seats...I don't like sitting in the front row. It must have something to do when I was in school, where I don't want the teacher to see me right away.

We were supposed to be there at no later than 8:15 AM. So, there we were sitting, waiting for our fate. By 8:30 the guy next to me started complaining. He wasn't happy to be there, he has other things to do, he said. Sure. I'm not happy either, but I don't want to be fined $1,500.00 for not showing up. The guy left for a while to get something to eat. Me, I didn't have a decent breakfast. I tried eating 1 1/2 piece of raisin bread toast, but I couldn't eat most of it, though I tried stuffing them in my mouth. They were tasteless. A little before 9:00 a staff showed up and welcomed all of us unwilling participants. She explained everything to us, though most of it was in the handbook, but she did it more detailed, down to the places where we could get our lunch, enumerating the names and at which corner we could find them. A judge came to the room to welcome us and gave us a pep talk. He sounded and talked just like Robert Shapiro. He understood how we felt about the whole thing, but he reminded us that it is what makes this country great; that it is our moral duty to participate in the justice system; that if we try to dodge it and go to another state, it is the same; and the only way to escape from it is not to be here in this country. He said further that we are all immigrants or of immigrant ancestry.

After all that talk, we were given our badge holders, handbooks, parking permits, and we surrendered our summons. We were instructed to wear our badges at all times, visibly on our chest, in any part of the building. It's a way for the lawyers to identify us as jurors. The reason for that is there are times the lawyers discuss cases out of the courtroom and they are not supposed to let jurors hear them. So, if they see a juror nearby them they quit discussing the case. If a juror happens to hear them the case will be dismissed. All cases in the courthouse are criminal in nature. Civil cases are heard in another jurisdiction.

When all was said and done, we waited...and waited...and waited. It was getting close to 12:00 noon. I was praying already that they would let us go...send us home. But by 11:45 a staff started calling names for the jury panel. I waited with apprehension praying that my name won't be called. Then my heart skipped a bit when I thought it was my name, but it was not. Oh, I heaved a sigh of relief. But she went on to call some more name came out of the speaker loud and clear. "Here," I called back.

We were instructed to go to the 3rd floor, Dept. G. So the 50 or so people filed out of the room to the upper floor. There we waited at the hallway near the courtroom, and in a few minutes a court clerk let us in. We sat down and the judge greeted us. We barely sounded more like a whimper, and the judge said, "You can do better than that." So we all replied in unison in a much louder voice. He understood our feeling...that we were not happy to be there.

Finally, I saw what was inside that very courtroom. It's unlike the ones we usually see on TV. The jury seats were metal padded foldable ones, and the spectators', were spring-loaded to fold automatically, and were made of plastic. They were cold to sit on; not comfortable. The judge, of course, had the best seat in the room--swivel, leather upholstery, high back with arms.

We were each given questionnaires to fill up at home, and were instructed to return the next day at 10:15 AM. I'm in, but still praying to be dismissed, hoping that they get the 12 jurors and 2 alternates before they get to my name.

I had lunch then headed home; I was so tired and sleepy I went to bed and took a nap.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Long Weekend

Monday the 28th is Memorial Day, a holiday, and this means we have a long weekend. Some people have gone out of town, but I have opted to stay put. I am not going to any campground, amusement parks, or out of town visiting some friends who could be out there celebrating. It was not TGIF for me yesterday. I've been fidgeting in my seat since last month every time I'm reminded to do my duty as a citizen. I received a court summons to be present at jury service selection. I have registered by phone as instructed within 5 days of receiving the summons. Since then I get anxiety attacks every time I think of it. I don't want to sit at a witness stand and be cross examined by the prosecuting and defense attorneys. But, I have to do it; my duty as a citizen. Ngeee. I know it's my duty, what else can I do? But it seems not fare to me.

Sometime in the 1990s I twice received this same kind of summons from the court. The first and second time I managed to exempt myself, being a licensed business owner--freelance consulting. But nowadays, that excuse is no longer acceptable, it was deleted from the list. I may be exempted if I'm mentally disabled--comatose siguro. Well, there are exemptions still but the list had been reduced to a few and I'm not in any of those. Then in 2004 I had my third summons and since I can't be excused anymore I availed myself to the court. After the number of jurors the court needed were satisfied, I and the rest of the assembly were sent home, which in essence means we have performed our duty. So, now, again I have this summons. This is my fourth one!

I have today, Saturday, tomorrow and Monday to be away from it. On Tuesday the 29th I have to be up early and be there at the assembly room at 8:15 AM. Hopefully, nothing's going to happen to me driving to court and coming home. The last time I went there in 2004 I had a car accident. Yeah. Remember that Nini? LOL I was looking at signs or landmarks on my way to lunch to familiarize myself with the place. The courthouse is about 15 miles away from my place, but it's not one I always go to. Well, as I was driving I didn't notice the red light until I was too close, and didn't have enough time to stop. A van was coming out of the intersection, and I prayed as I plowed into her front ripping away her bumper. As I did that I prayed and said to myself, "This is it. This is the end of me." But lo and behold, I managed to park my car on the side and got out unscathed. I was unhurt but shaky. I hastily got out of the car forgetting the key in the ignition. My car engine was still running as I stepped on the sidewalk. People who heard the crash all came out of their stores and shops and gawked at me and the mess. I didn't care, I was shaken. A couple who owned the store where I parked came out and called a police officer. The officer was very courteous and understanding; he noticed my JUROR BADGE on my chest. He didn't give me a ticket for running a red light, but made a report about the accident. The guy...err, woman who was driving the van kept asking me if I worked for the city--a government official or employee. He...err, she saw my badge, as well. I should have told her I, but I didn't. I work on my own, man...err, woman. Intiende? He he he

My car was a total loss.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Mist

The Mist

At times I see the mist
As the sun rises in the East.
I see it among the trees
Kissing the yellow, amber and green leaves;
Clinging to their branches and twigs;

Saying hello to birds and bees,
As they await the morning sunburst.
Life moves--a seed from ground would burst;
Behold! as leaves unfold seedlings;
Life awakens in all our surroundings.

The sun rises higher...and higher
The mist can no longer linger
And it's shape and form disappear--
Vanishing into thin air--
Dying in the atmosphere.

It reappears tomorrow
On every Green Pine bough
An end, there'll never be
As mist is born in every new dawn.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Birthday Party For A Lady

I called my friend and I said, "Jay, you know I'm here at MOSS? I forgot about this party we're going to this coming Saturday (May 12) and I'm looking for a dress to wear. I got the invitation a month ago, and now I have only a few days to find a dress." I found one, but my friend and I have a good laugh at my forgetfulness. It's a cute 2 piece dress: top is white and bottom is black with white flower design, and ruffles at the hem. I liked the ruffles it made the dress really feminine.

Yesterday, Tuesday, my husband and I looked for a suit for him to wear and we found one at the mall near our place--about 4 miles away. It is navy blue--well, almost black so it could pass as black. Requested attire is black and white, formal or semi-formal.

The celebrant is a young woman who's turning 80; still energetic, witty, and full of life. She always held parties at her home where she lived by herself. She had a car accident late last year, and decided it was time for her to quit driving. She realized that at her age her reflexes are not what it used to be. She sold her car; sold her small 3 bedroom house and moved to an apartment. She can still move about with the help of her family and friends. She's very active in church functions and members of her church are always there to help her. I met her at the Luau, one of the church's fund raising events. She was one of the committee members and I was the artist (kuno) for the flyers, posters, signs and program cover design.

This party will be one big celebration; it's only once that she'll turn 80. The chance of her reading this is nil, but just the same I'm wishing her..."Happy Birthday Manang Fely."

Friday, May 04, 2007

On The Flight to Frankfurt

I wrote the poem below right after getting back from a cruise on the Black Sea in Eastern Europe. My husband and I boarded the Lufthansa Airlines in Los Angeles, California headed for Germany, our first stop. Next we headed for Athens, Greece where we embarked on the ship Insignia of Oceania Cruises, in Piraeus.

On the Lufthansa

Like sardines we were packed
Air turbulence--we rolled and rocked.
Food served on trays, tiny and cute
But, it almost made me puke.
Chicken with sauce so creamy
Made my stomach queasy.
The food inside me tumbled,
It complained and grumbled.
Oh no! I have to go.
Line is long; hold before I let go.
Finally, my time has come.
I sit and poof, it's gone!
Only air, sigh, what a relief,
Now I can relax and breathe.


Sept. 13, 2004