I’m not a very patient person. Well, I guess that depends on how you define “patient.” I have a lot more patience with children and teenagers than most of you. If I didn’t, I would be doing something else with my life. But I have little patience for waiting. This led to most of my early marital tussles, because I didn’t handle waiting ver well, and Sarah didn’t take too kindly to being rushed. (FYI: I was really annoying about it. That’s not a reflection on her at all.) I would always get upset whenever I would leave later than I knew I was supposed to, because I knew I’d arrive late. My mom had this thing she’d always say to me, though, when I would talk about being frustrated for running late: “You don’t know what God is sparing you from. Maybe you would have been in an accident if you had left on time.” She meant it, too. My mom attributed Sarah’s tardiness to Divine intervention. Women. Always siding together. But there’s probably some truth to it. I’m sure there have been times when I have been spared. Like when we were moving to Florida, and we left 20 minutes later than I had planned. I was annoyed. My mom said her thing. We get into Ohio, and sure enough, we missed a terrible accident involving semis and cars, and it shut down the whole highway. The scene looked fairly fresh when we arrived. Maybe we just missed it by about 20 minutes.
Last Wednesday, I had jury duty. I wasn’t overly excited. I’m a busy guy. I have many important things to procrastinate on while at my desk. Having jury duty meant I had to be more efficient with my time if I was going to get everything done I needed to get done. Who wants that? So I arrive at 8:00 AM, per my instructions. I’m one of the first few there, so I pick a nice comfy arm chair to relax in. Two hours later, I was still in the exact same chair, and its luster had worn off. I was trying to work, but it was difficult. So I moved to a chair by a table in the break area. I sat there another hour. I worked some, I read some, and I listened to other people’s conversations. I knew something wasn’t right. I had never had jury duty before, but I knew I wasn’t there to sit around for the entire morning. I was told to go back to the main room, because an on-duty jury needed the break room. So I moved again.
By about this time, I’m really annoyed. I wanted the table to work. It’s one thing to have me miss work to do my civic duty. It’s another thing to have me sit around doing nothing. I would have rather worked on something, but now I couldn’t do that, either. I was frustrated, but I didn’t make a scene. I didn’t really want to be taken to a court room for any reason other than jury duty. Finally, we’re told to shut off all electronics, because the judge would be coming to address us. She came in, thanked us for our time, reiterated the importance of our civic duty (because nothing says, “good citizen,” like sitting quietly in a room for four hours doing nothing). Then she said, “I need to tell you what’s been going on downstairs and the reason why you’ve been left up here doing nothing.”
She went on to explain that, despite her normal personal rules, she allowed the prosecutor and the defendant to come to a plea agreement. She said she normally wouldn’t allow that right before the trial started. I thought it was strange, because I’ve seen a lot of Law & Order, and I know that’s not Hollywood normal. Then she told us why she broke her rule. The man who was on trial was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree, and he was also being charged with creating pornographic materials with children. She said that if she had brought us downstairs, we would have ended up seeing the evidence, and that included the videos he had made. So she thought better to allow the plea agreement and spare us from seeing something like that, which we could never unsee.
I’m so glad the judge used her discretion and didn’t bring us down to the court room. I was shook up just knowing I almost saw that. I would have been completely wrecked if I had actually seen it. You never know what you are being spared from when you are left waiting, but sometimes, it’s worse than a car accident.