Sunday, October 17, 2004

Doing My Duty

I have jury duty in the morning. This is rarely a pleasant task for anyone, but it hits the self-employed particularly hard, because they almost undoubtedly will lose money in the deal somehow. This is very much the case with me, because my business is not only school-specific by day but also day-specific; in other words, even if I only miss the morning time, I'll still never be able to teach the morning of October 18, 2004 again (my schedule renders makeups virtually impossible in most cases), and the $10 the county will pay me will only make up for 2/3 of the first lesson I'll miss.

I certainly understand the obligation to do my civic duty and all that, but I really wish that business hardship was a vaild reason for dismissal of service, especially for sole proprietors like myself. (On the other hand, I also understand how that would be abused if it were allowed, so I'm not sure of the ideal answer here.) Dallas County has a one day/one trial policy, which means that if you're not picked the first day, your term of service is considered complete. My only big concern is if I were to get selected and have to spend more than one day down there. Two days would cause me significant financial hardship; three days would be an even more serious dent, and a week or longer would be devastating. I understand that you can talk to the judge if this scenario occurs, and I would hope so, seeing as how nobody should be forced to go near-bankrupt just to fulfill this duty. But hopefully it'll be like last time, where I was done by 11 a.m. *crosses fingers*

I said a few days ago that I was going to take a poll asking how long you thought I'd be stuck down there and whether I should drive or take the train (the train is free on the first day you serve). I'm pretty sure I'm taking the train (just to be different, and to save on gas/stress), but I'm hoping that what happened the last time I did that doesn't happen again: I was in a group that was promptly bused to the juvenile center, several miles away in West Dallas, and then left there and told that we had two hours for lunch. Keep in mind that my car was at the train station, and the closest thing to us was a cafeteria, which was a 20-minute walk through a bad neighborhood. Thus, I ended up eating my lunch from vending machines that day, which pretty much soured me on the whole deal. I didn't get picked that time, either, thankfully; I probably sealed my place on the "bad" list when I objected to the dad in this child-custody case not showing up for the selection process because he was self-employed and didn't want to miss work. Wait a minute, I was missing work too, but I was there! You get the idea...

Anyway, wish me luck on this and feel free to use the comments for your predictions of how long I'll be stuck there. And if you're so inclined, pray for my Dad, who's having hip replacement in the morning (it's his second one, and he's made a lot of "bionic" jokes already).

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