After thirteen years of bona fide adulthood, seven years of consistent living in more or less what you would consider “the same place,” after watching countless friends and colleagues go through it, it finally happened to me:
I got my summons for jury duty in the mail earlier this week.
It’s not necessarily an invitation to participate, though. In Arizona, you are given a date upon which you must begin calling the courthouse to see if you will be required to come down and sit through the vetting process. To see if they event want to see if they want you.
Apparently, it involves a day of sitting and waiting, no reading, and having to watch some strange “civic duty” movie on a TV/VCR while you make time with your fellow citizens.
I feel a civic obligation to do my part as much as the next person, but I’m pretty sure my lifestyle just isn’t ideal for jury service: full time employment, a part-time at-home literary journal gig, extensive volunteering in the community, plus a nine-credit student course load for the term. A dog relying on me for love and nourishment. A boyfriend who can’t cook. Does it all make for a compelling argument to disenfranchise me from my civic responsibility?
Furthermore, is it ethical or not that the state is willing to pay me $40 a day to determine someone’s guilt or innocence?