Monday, March 3, 2014


I spent a fair bit of time at the hospital in the few days between my daughter being born and being able to bring her home.  I also popped back and forth between the hospital and Sherwood Cottage, among other things checking my mail.  Among that mail, I found a jury summons which calls me to the county courthouse today, and I am not entirely pleased to have received the summons.  It has been markedly inconvenient.

For one, I was obliged to alter my teaching schedule.  I am fortunate in that the department in which I am currently employed treats is members well, and I had no shortage of people ready to step in for me as I do my civic duty.  Even so, I largely enjoy my work (much as I sometimes complain of it--but do no most grumble about some parts of their jobs without being faulted for it?), and as a point of pride, I am not enthusiastic about allowing others to meet my responsibilities.  It is perhaps a failing.

For another, my daughter requires attention.  She is growing stronger daily, even to the point that she can pick her head up for a short time (having her turn her head to look up at me was startling).  She eats well and deeply, and she gives all signs that the handles well what she eats.  My wife will be at home with her, certainly, and my mother-in-law for a few days yet (which has been helpful, certainly), so that my daughter's needs will be met, but it is my place to do so and my responsibility, and I am not eager to be called away from it.

I am aware that I have to leave for work many days, and I am aware that jury duty is a duty, owed as part of a social contract in which I participate and from which I benefit directly and as part of a larger body.  Both are ultimately in the service of my family; I work to be able to buy food, rent housing, and maintain insurance, and I go to the courthouse when called so that I am not dragged to it in shame and dishonor and made a spectacle to the chagrin of my family.  But that does not mean that I am always pleased to do so. (Again, I enjoy teaching--but I enjoy my family more.)

For still another, I am not at all confident that my term of service will be brief.  Many of my colleagues have noted that I am likely to be discharged or excused through one means or another.  The court may take pity on my having so young a child at home, or the case to which I am summoned as a petit juror may be settled before going to trial.  But last time I was called up to jury duty, near the beginning of 2012, I was selected as a juror with little hesitation, and I had to report to be in the courtroom on my anniversary.  I cannot help but think that things will be the same here as they were in the Best of the Boroughs--and if there were to be things in common between this wind-swept-plain town and The City, that is not what I would have among them.

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