August 09, 2009
Just in case you happened to be wondering: no, dressing up like a Marilyn Manson fan is not, in fact, an effective deterrent for jury duty.
I’m going to blame this one on the fact that I’m a Gemini. Allow me to explain.
I hate to lie. As a matter of fact, I can count the number of times I have lied blatantly to somebody on one hand.
Lying isn’t really my schtick. Instead, I withhold. Occasionally, I spin. Sometimes I give two completely different answers at different moments of the day. One of my twin halves pops up and what she says out of hearing of the other seems completely reasonable at the time. This can occasionally give the appearance of lying. It can also be just really, really ridiculously frustrating.
Random interviewer: “Do you like violence?”
Me: “Put me in the ring. Bring it.”
That conversation could have just as easily swung another direction at another given time:
Random interviewer: “Do you like violence?”
Me: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
I could see how this might be confusing. But I don’t feel that I am being dishonest as it’s happening. I simply have a different opinion in a different moment – depending on whichever of the twins is in control of my gray matter in a given moment.
But what about another ugly tendency I – OK, “we” – have: the one involving giving an incomplete picture and/or withhold information? In other words, this is where I send one of the twins underground with a roll of duct tape and tell her to shut the hell up under threat of a smackdown.
Husband: “Do you think I said the right thing to Xavier* today when I told him to fuck off?”
Me: “I think you did the best you could under the circumstances.”**
Husband: “What does that mean?”
Me: “I don’t know. I mean, I might have chosen a different conversational path, but I think what you said fits you perfectly.’
Husband: “Right. So, you think I shouldn’t have said that?”
He: [Exasperated] “I swear, you are really, really ridiculously frustrating.”
*I know nobody by the name of Xavier. Xavier represents a completely fictional entity. Xavier is not real. He is fake. Made up. In my mind. Xavier may in no way be used against me as a “lie” as I have fully disclosed his non-existence from the get-go.
**In other words, no, I don’t think he said the right thing today, but if I look at it from his perspective, I can see why he would have said what he did. Half of me gets it.
***To be interpreted by his own conscience.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, regarding the incident at the Boulder County Courthouse:
When I got the letter summoning me to jury duty, I admit I may have overreacted a wee bit. I’d never actually been called to jury duty before, and I had no idea what to expect. All I knew for sure was that people generally try to get out of it and, therefore, it must be bad.
My friends gave me all sorts of advice:
“Tell them you have a tendency to always root for the underdog.”
“Tell them you hate lawyers.”
“Tell them you have a Ph.D. and that you are currently studying for the LSAT. Lawyers don’t like smart people who are studying to be one of them.”
“Just tell them that you have been taking care of an elderly auntie with a highly contagious strain of the E. Bola virus and that if you weren’t sitting in that courtroom, you could be getting tested for infection at the nearest hospital.”
The obvious problem with any of these suggestions, of course, is that they all involved a blatant lie. And so I decided to do what any selves-respecting Gemini would do: I sent one twin down to the basement…and brought the other one up.
All of my life people have told me that I have an innocent look. They take one glance at me and decide that I can be walked on. Shaped. Molded like Play-Doh in six fun and delightful colors. It’s not true. I have a dark side that is incredibly jaded and discerning. But I knew that those lawyers would take one look at me and insist I stay.
“The rest can go, but keep that girl in the front row there,” they would no doubt whisper amongst themselves. “We’ll have her drinking the Flavor-aid by the end of this trial. She’ll be all ours. [Insert wild hyena cackles] Plus, she comes in six fun and delightful colors.”
I wore all black, of course. Long skirt, high boots. Lacy underthings sticking out in all the appropriate places. I still looked perhaps a little too clean on the parts of my skin that were showing, but a few rub-on tattoos took care of that. Blackened up the eyes and nails. Powdered my face. Put green streaks in my hair.
I screeched into the courthouse parking lot with my Emo attitude and blasting my Emo music. (OK – I don’t really have any Emo music, so I made the best of Zombie by the Cranberries. I just had to keep reminding myself to stop singing along with it in case anyone was looking. Karaoke = very UN-Emo.)
When I arrived in the courtroom, I didn’t smile. I slouched. I flashed my tats. I stared brazenly at the lawyers, daring them to choose me.
“Come on, fuckers. Choose me.”
They chose me.
When I originally hatched this plan, it never occurred to me that it would fail. Bluff called, I had no choice to stick around. But a person can not very well just show up all rife with angst in the morning and then suddenly clear up like a sunny day after a storm. I had to keep up my persona. Not so difficult in the jury box, but that deliberation session was a bit of a challenge as I am used to my sunny twin being my normal spokesperson. Mostly I kept quiet, but I threw in a few eye rolls for effect. After I realized that nobody actually thought I wasn’t a Goth chick, I started to have fun with it. I think a couple of the guys were actually afraid of me. I started toying with them just for fun. Kind of semi-flirting and then giving them a death stare.
So, no – my plan to get out of jury duty didn’t work. On the other hand, it was really, really ridiculously satisfying.