Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Well. This afternoon was a waiting game for this faux juror. The six Major League jurors began to deliberate. But my fellow alternate and I were kicked off the island. (Talk about mixed metaphors. Yikes.) I was banished to Starbucks to wait. Ordered to remain within striking distance of the courthouse. In the likely event one the Superior Six suffered a sudden bout of Appendicitis.
Just yesterday I bemoaned the fact that I wouldn't be able to deliberate, but today I was singing a different tune. Why?
After the prosecution and defense finished their summations, the Judge read us the very important jury instructions. He was loud and clear. His voice carried far and wide in the little courtroom. Like a good girl, I sat still in my burgundy pleather chair and made commendable eye contact, even nodding at what seemed to be appropriate moments. But there were good chunks of time where I heard nothing. Nada. Crickets.
So, sequestered at Starbucks, I decided that I was in fact thankful that it would not be up to me to make such a weighty decision about the fate of a fellow human being. Because I was not sure I heard everything I was supposed to hear. In fact, I was sure I didn't hear things I was supposed to hear. Things it was my civic duty to hear and understand and digest and use as a solid foundation for The Decision.
And then I had a caffeine-fueled mini-epiphany that this was perhaps why I was picked for the Minor Leagues. Maybe that Judge and those lawyers took one look at me and something screamed short attention span. Was it the (only-quasi-faux) blonde hair? The artfully-torn designer jeans? The fact that my questionnaire had so many slashes (I indicated under Profession that I was a Writer/Mom/Lawyer)? (Note: I am a loyal fan of the slash and his cousin the parethesis and up until a few moments ago, I couldn't quite remember whether the period goes before or after the closing parenthesis. And then I hit save and looked it up. And for you fellow members of the Punctuation Police who are still with me: the period goes before the final parenthesis only if the entire sentence is encapsulated in said parentheses.)
But I digress.
Yes, I'm being long-winded and self-indulgent and dramatic and all those other adjectives they warn writers not to be. For the truth is that if I were allowed in that deliberation room, we would've been given a copy of the jury instructions I tuned out. Truth is most matters in life (like, say, the proper use of parentheses) aren't quite as serious as those lived out in the criminal courtroom. But why do we do this? Why do we tune things out? Like the convoluted list of specials at the Italian restaurant? Or the flight attendant's safety details? Or the conversation with Husband about what might be wrong with the dishwasher?
Now men often get criticized for doing the selective hearing dance and, yes, they happen to be very good at not hearing the desperate cries of a hungry newborn at 3am, but we all do this. Almost daily. What gives?
Maybe our brains can only accommodate so many details at once and once they reach max capacity, the ears take a breather? Maybe we tune out things we don't need to hear? (Why do we need to hear that they have special soft shelled crabs if we know we want the halibut?) Maybe we tune out things that we simply do not want to hear. (Like the fact that our plane might crash and if it does it might be over the ocean and we might need to maneuver oxygen masks and use our filthy seat cushions as flotation devices.)
Or maybe we each have a pinch of ADD leftover from childhood? (Witness Exhibit A: This Post.)