tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why I Apparently Need to Update the Netflix Queue Sometime This Century

Back when we first signed up for Netflix, I got very excited about it. I checked the queue constantly and added a ton of movies to it. At first, we watched the movies all the time and moved through the queue pretty quickly. But then we began to lose interest. The movies sat around longer and longer. You know how it is: you’re in the mood for something lightweight, and Netflix sends you a documentary about the Holocaust. And it’s your fault, because you put the damn documentary on there 6 months ago when you were feeling bad about always watching such stupid movies all the time and trying to be more intellectual. Now it’s gotten to the point that I don’t even remember the movies I added.

The other day, Lord Kissington held up a red Netflix envelope and said, “Are you ever going to watch this?”
“What is it?”
“[Insert name of pretentious-sounding movie]”
“Hmmh, I’ve never heard of it. Did you put it on the list?”
“No, you did.”
"Are you sure about that? Seriously, I’ve never heard of it.”

He read the description to me. It involved sensitive young people growing up in a war-torn environment or something like that. It didn’t ring any bells.

“Are you sure you didn’t put this on the list? It doesn’t sound like something I would pick. I mean, it’s not a teen comedy or something starring a hot British guy.” I asked.
“No, it’s definitely one of yours.”
“Maybe I had some sort of blackout last year and added a bunch of movies I can’t remember?” (Let’s be honest here—the pre-wedding stress could have easily put me into a fugue state in which I updated the queue yet have no memory of it.)

This is not the first time this has happened. So, I finally decided to update the queue. Again, many of the titles were unrecognizable to me, despite the fact that Lord Kissington claims they were all my choices. A couple of them appeared to be a remnant of my short-lived but intense fascination with Sam Rockwell (fall 2005). The rest are a mystery. I was able to clear out the queue, which is awesome because now the next two films to arrive are much more to my liking: Bring It On and The Princess Diaries. I definitely remember adding those ones.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

But I Thought You Liked Me

Jury duty, you are such a tease. For weeks now, I’ve been preparing for the possibility of being out of work for five weeks. I was all ready to show up at the courthouse yesterday as you requested, but when I called you on Tuesday evening to find out what time you needed me, you told me that you had so many jurors for this trial that it was going to take you days to get through them all and to call back the next day. This hurt me a little, because I thought I meant something to you, but I understand that you’re really busy, so I let it go. But when I called back last night, you told me to not even bother calling you until next Wednesday. What’s up with that, jury duty? Apparently, I don’t mean as much to you as I thought. I really thought we had something special, but I guess I’m just a number to you.


I know that lately, most of my posts have been my whining about jury duty and being sick. And sadly, I don’t see things changing any time soon, because I’m sick again. Either I have the world’s longest running cold or my spring allergies have kicked in. I’m bitter.


I am sending a mass card to my uncle’s family. A mass card is something that Catholics send to other Catholics when someone dies. You make a small donation to a church or religious order and they say a couple of Masses for the deceased. I didn’t know where to get a Mass card, but my grandmother gave me one (she keeps a supply on hand at all times; apparently, at her age, she uses them all the time as her contemporaries are dropping like flies). Mass cards generally have some kind of religious imagery on them. This one has perhaps the cheesiest picture of Jesus I’ve ever seen. Not only is Jesus really pale and Northern European looking, but the quality of the painting is what you might find at one of those “starving artist” sales, the ones at Holidays Inns where all the paintings are $29 or less. It’s awesome in its awfulness.


Someone got here by searching for “the clap song syphilis.” I have no idea what this is, but I have two points to make: 1) I believe that the term “the clap” actually refers to gonorrhea, and 2) I totally want to hear this song.


To the person who was searching for “the mixed tape lyrics meanings”: I’m pretty sure that with lyrics like

This is morning
That's when I spend the most time
Thinking ‘bout what I've given up
This is a warning
When you start the day just to close the curtains
You're thinking ‘bout what I've given up

Where are you now?
As I’m swimming through the stereo
I’m writing you a symphony of sound
Where are you now?
As I rearrange the songs again
This mix could burn a hole in anyone
But it was you I was thinking of


And I can’t get to you
I can’t get to you
I can’t get to you (you, you)

this song is about making a mix tape for an ex with whom things have gone wrong.


Someone else wants to know “what songs should i put on my mixed cds?” You’ve come to the right place, gentle reader, because Lady Tiara loves her some mixed CDs. Of course, the answer depends on what you’re going for with the mixed CD. Do you want a party mix or is it for someone you want to sleep with you? If the former, here are some suggestions:

Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
I Want You Back – Hoodoo Gurus
That’s Entertainment – the Jam
Kelly Watch the Stars – Air
I Go Crazy – Flesh for Lulu
La La Love You – Pixies
Don’t Leave Me This Way – the Communards
Le Disko – Shiny Toy Guns
I Wanna Be Your Lover – Prince
I Love a Man in Uniform – Gang of Four
A Praise Chorus – Jimmy Eat World
The Look of Love - ABC
Speak Like a Child – Style Council

If it’s the latter, here are some suggestions:

Fairytale of New York – the Pogues
My Baby Just Cares for Me – Nina Simone
kips a Beat (Over You) – Promise Ring
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Dusty Springfield
The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side – Magnetic Fields
Kiss at the End of the Rainbow – Mitch and Mickey
For Blue Skies – Strays Don’t Sleep
Only You – Yaz
Pale Blue Eyes – Velvet Underground
Hyponotised – Might Lemon Drops
Written in the Stars – Paul Weller

Good luck!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Yeah, That Would Be Me

I am so stressed out about the possibility of five weeks of jury duty that it’s making my chronic insomnia even worse than usual. I woke up yesterday at 4:45 a.m. On the plus side, I got to work at 8. I would have gotten in even earlier if it hadn’t been for my reluctance to walk to work in the dark. (Walking to work as the sun came up was weird, since it was only a few years ago that I occasionally was coming home as the sun rose (totally vampire style).)

There’s a part of me that’s hoping I’ll suddenly be stricken with nasty boils or something like that, so I can show off my horrid boils to the judge and point out that I’m not someone they want on their jury.

I keep thinking about what jury duty could be like. I read this little gem on Wonkette: One juror was kicked off the Scooter Libby trial during deliberations. She was also the only juror who didn’t dress up in a heart t-shirt on Valentine’s Day. The rest of the jury wore matching t-shirts, and the foreman actually gave a little speech thanking the marshals and the judge and wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day. Clearly, too many weeks on that jury has wiped away any common sense these people once had.

I can just imagine what the other jurors thought of the t-shirt-abstaining woman:

“What is her problem?... Thinks she’s so much better than us… Why won’t she just wear the shirt? It’s FESTIVE!... What a bitch…”

And you know what? I would totally be the bitch who refuses to wear the t-shirt. I fucking hate dressing like everyone else, and I’m not so good with the whole group thing. The last time I was on jury duty, the best part of it for me was that there was a lot of sitting around time (we were stuck in the jury room for more time than we were in the courtroom), and I spent that time reading, something I never have enough time to do in my daily life. This mystified the other jurors, who said things like, “You sure do read a lot” in a slightly incredulous tone, as if saying “You sure do seem to enjoy picking your nose.” I guess I’m basically an introvert, and I have no desire to share my life story with a bunch of people I’m never going to see again. I’d just as soon read a book.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Eliminate the Negative

My last post was uber-depressing and negative, so I’m trying to accentuate the positive today.

1. I’m not a fan of St. Patrick’s Day, but I managed to stay close to home and avoid the green vomit-covered streets of my neighborhood. I did eat some Irish soda bread, which was awesome.

2. My new allergy meds are only so-so at actually curing my sinus issues, but they have an unexpected benefit: they’re totally suppressing my appetite. I keep forgetting to eat lunch, something that has pretty much never happened to me before. It’s like fen-phen without the heart attacks.

3. My alma mater made it to round 2 of the tournament. I’m not exactly a huge college basketball fan, but at least it gives me the chance to say suck it to certain people. Even if they did lose in the second round.

4. People actually gave us money for our anniversary. It’s like getting paid to stay married.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Farewell to Uncle J

You know how when things are really bad, and you think, ok this sucks, but at least things can’t get worse. Which is of course a total crock. They can get so much get worse. And they will. Things are pretty bad around here. I’ve been sick, I haven’t been sleeping well, and I’m swamped and totally stressed out at work, as I try to arrange things so that someone can cover for me during my potential five weeks of jury duty, all the while knowing that I’ll still have to work several hours a day in addition to spending a full day at the trial. This begs the question of when I am going to be able to do everything else I need to do, like eat, work out, and sleep. Of course, if I don’t have time to eat, maybe I can just skip the working out part. I’m still hoping to find a way to work sleep in.

Wednesday night, I was home alone and I found out that my uncle J (who is actually really my first cousin once removed, but I’ve always sort of thought of him as my uncle) had died on Tuesday night. I found out via answering machine, and it was a big shock. Although I had heard that he was in the hospital, I didn’t think that much of it since he had been having a lot of non-life-threatening health problems for the last year or two. And now he’s dead. It hit me really hard, and I sobbed for about 20 minutes. Then I crawled into bed.

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with a migraine. I stumbled out of bed and made myself a cup of tea (caffeine sometimes helps mitigate the pain), took an advil, and went back to bed. I lay there awake and feeling like someone was continuously dropping an anvil on my head until the alarm went off. I forced myself to get up, because I’ve been out of work a lot this winter for health reasons, and I am just too backed up to take anymore time off, even I though I felt like shit and was operating on about 5 hours sleep.

Getting ready for work was a really fun, and involved a lot of stumbling into walls and dropping of things. Putting on makeup did nothing, because it couldn’t cover up the swollen-from-crying eyes and there’s not enough concealer in the world to hide the dark circles under my eyes.

For my ongoing sinus problems, I got some new prescription meds that I have to take in the morning and the evening. I picked up the bottle to take the morning pill with my breakfast. I read the fine print and realized that you have to take this pill on an empty stomach, either one hour before a meal or two to three hours after. Which is going to make these pills really hard for me to take. Even with my morbid fear of getting pregnant, I have trouble remembering to take birth control pills, so I keep them on the dining room table so I see them every morning when I’m eating. Otherwise, it would be really hit or miss. I can’t take these new pills before I eat because I am not up an hour before I eat. And taking them two to three hours after is going to be a serious problem for me to remember. I dropped one of the pills on the floor and I got down on my hands and knees to find it, because they cost a fucking fortune. When I was down there, I considered just curling up in the fetal position and calling it a day.

And then the toilet broke. It just stopped flushing. With, ummh, stuff in the bowl. So, I had to stick my hand in there several times to try to fix things. (Memo to self: buy a plunger.) One of the things about having a migraine is that you feel really nauseous and sometimes you have to throw up. And having to stick my hand into an unflushed toilet really, really made me want to vomit. Of course, I had to try really hard not to vomit, since I wouldn’t be able to flush the fucking toilet. While I was sticking my hand into the toilet (shudder), I noticed that it was pretty filthy and I was disgusted by that, but not so disgusted that I could actually bring myself to clean it. Hopefully, the maintenance guy will associate the filth with the backed-up toilet and not with our general level of cleanliness.

And the whole time that I was moping around the house, whining to myself, I felt really selfish and shitty and awful, because J is dead and I’m this stupid idiot who’s moaning about her broken toilet. J was an amazing person, and the whole thing is really hard for me because he’s from the part of my family that lives in another country and so they’re far away and I can’t do anything, like go to the funeral or send flowers or anything (the funeral was yesterday). I feel really disconnected from this part of my family. I haven’t seen them in years, and now I’m wishing I had gone there on my honeymoon, so Lord Kissington could have had the chance to meet J and the other people who are important to me. During my childhood, I spent my summers in that country, and J was always incredibly kind to me. When I got older, J, who didn’t drink, would always go out and buy a bottle of something special for me to drink whenever I was visiting. It was usually some sort of god-awful sherry that he thought was appropriate for “young ladies” to drink, but I always choked it down because he had made such an effort.

Now that J is gone, I’ve lost another link to my childhood. I never thought of J as old, but I realize yesterday that he was in his early 70s, which really shocked me. I guess I had him frozen in time at a much younger age. And both of my parents are turning 60 this week. Which means that I’m getting older every minute, and my childhood is receding farther and farther into the mists of memory. Some things are still very clear to me, but other stuff is starting to get fuzzy, and I wonder about the point at which it all starts to blur together. I really don’t want to forget.

So, in memory of Uncle J, I’ll be pouring out a bottle of sherry.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Short Notes

1. Yesterday, I went to Au Bon Pain to pick up a sandwich for lunch. I was in a hurry, so I grabbed a pre-made sandwich. I got back to office, unwrapped, and realized that it had extra bread. It was a regular sandwich configuration: bread, meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato, bread. And then another slice of bread on top of that. It was like they tried to make a club sandwich, but forgot to fill in the second later. I removed the extra slice of bread. A half-hour later, I ate it. I have no self-control.

2. Waking up in the middle of the night from a disturbing dream sucks. What sucks even worse is falling back to sleep and re-entering the same shitty dream. It involved the possibility of being evicted from an apartment I no longer live in, a huge amount of cheap sci-fi paperbacks I had never seen before, and my favorite childhood doll being infested with mice. Shudder.

3. My first attempt at getting out of jury duty failed. Five weeks. Oh fuck.

4. In what has been an otherwise shitty week, Arcade Fire tickets fell into my lap, somewhat mitigating my extreme bitterness toward TicketMaster and their image verification nonsense. Apparently, I am visually impaired as I had to type approximately 18 verification codes before being allowed to get to the point at which they told me “no tickets available.” Grr.

5. Last night, I was walking through Dupont Circle and this amazing New Orleans-style jazz band was playing. There were dozens of people listening, and it made me really happy, because this same band is out there every year as soon as the weather gets nice. I like the sense of continuity.

6. I’ve celebrated two anniversaries recently. My first wedding anniversary was this weekend. We made it through a year. Just five more and we’ll beat my parents’ record. Of course, we have many more years to equal his parents’ record (40 years and counting). I think we’re doing pretty well, and we only threaten to divorce each other once or twice a week. The latest grounds for divorce: his thinking that the Pixies’ version of “Head On” is better than the Jesus and Mary Chain version, which is clearly crazy talk.

The other anniversary was my second blogiversary, which passed unnoticed by me last month. I celebrated that by posting hardly at all. And writing shitty numbered posts.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

I Officially Surrender

As I’ve said before, I really love winter. I love snow, I love frigid temperatures, I’m a total Viking. But now I have to admit that winter has finally kicked my ass.

On Tuesday, I was loving the cold and excited about the possibility of one last snowstorm. Then I noticed a tickle in the back of my throat. That tickle is now a full-fledged sore throat, and I am well on my way to a cold, which will be approximately my 18th illness of the season.

Winter, why do you hate me? I’ve been so good to you. I’ve embraced every below-freezing day. I’ve scoffed at the pussies complaining about the cold. I’ve sneered at the idiots who don’t know how to layer. I’ve walked to work during every snowstorm. I’ve worshipped at your frozen altar. And how do you repay me? With every miserable fucking germ? I thought we had an understanding, winter. Why aren’t you infecting all the whiners who don’t know enough to wear hats and scarves? Why me?

Thanks a lot, winter. I am so over you.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I’ll Take a Boob Job, a Tummy Tick, and a Hoo-Ha Lift

Yesterday, the Post had a super-creepy article on vaginal surgery. I was only vaguely aware that such a field existed, so the article was a huge—and profoundly disturbing—revelation. My first thought was this: It’s not bad enough that I have to worry about how my face, my skin, and my body look—now I have to worry about my cooch too? What.the.fuck.

I can see how women with sexual dysfunction are driven to laser procedures in an effort to solve a major problem. But there doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence that these procedures work. And do you really want a laser anywhere near your va-jay-jay? I sure as hell don’t.

Far more disturbing are the truly cosmetic procedures. Some women are having surgery to make their ladyparts look younger. Woman are apparently wanting for a “nice sleek look,” and according to the doctor who invented and popularized these procedures, “Women tell me they want to look like they’re 18 again.” You know, when I was 18, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time looking at my cooter with a magnifying mirror, so I don’t really have a basis for comparison. But I can’t say I spend a lot of time worrying about it looking old. Silly me. I’ve spent all this time worrying about wrinkles and gray hairs, when I should have been doing something about my aging box. This is just stupid. (Besides, if a man is spending too much time looking at it, he’s not doing things right.)

There’s also a procedure called a hymenoplasty that can revirginize you. It’s apparently increasingly popular in cultures in which virginity is prized. The article mentioned a woman who was having the surgery before returning home to Egypt to be examined by a gynecologist before an arranged marriage.

In a situation like this, where there’s all kinds of potential for family shame and dishonor, the need for the surgery is understandable. But there are also people who are getting this done as a little something special for the men in their lives: “Some of his patients… are celebrating a new relationship or a second honeymoon.” This is just so fucked up I don’t even know where to begin. Why would you want to relive losing your virginity? Was your first time really so amazing? Were there candles and romantic music and you felt the earth move? Or was it so awful that you want a second chance? All I can say is, been there, done that. My hymen can stay broken, thank you very much.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fighting a Losing Battle

This weekend, I realized that I was completely overwhelmed by stuff. We have too much stuff and it’s overwhelming what would otherwise be a decently sized apartment. The situation is not helped by teeny tiny closets that were clearly designed for someone who doesn’t own more than five outfits. Everywhere I turn, there is a precariously balanced pile of some sort. Every time, I open a closet, stuff falls out. I recently ran out of hangers, so I bought a ton of them. I’ve now run out of space on the closet rod on which these hangers are placed. And this was after I got rid of three garbage bags full of clothes. Clearly, I have a problem here.

To combat this growing problem, I have begun a massive clean-out of the apartment. I fight against the stuff all the time, but it’s a losing battle. Yesterday, when I began my latest skirmish, I was determined to be as strong as possible and hold out against every last packrat tendency.

My first attack was on a cabinet in the dining room that serves mostly as a repository for crap that we don’t know what to do with. It was filled with all kinds of “treasures.” Among the items that have exited or will shortly exiting the Tiara/Kissington household are these gems:

1. A shot glass with the flag of Texas on it. Where the hell did that come from? It’s not as though I sit around the house doing shots. I prefer to drink straight from the bottle.
2. A small clock with a picture of a penguin on it (it’s not even a particularly cute penguin) and no numbers so it’s hard to tell the time.
3. The infamous Princess Diana commemorative plate. The story is a good enough conversation piece, so I don’t really need the physical evidence, which in addition to being butt ugly, is not “suitable for food service” and thus completely useless except on a creepy kitsch level.
4. A poster of Yoda. Please don’t even ask how that ended up in my apartment. Seriously, Yoda?
5. A “vinyl repair kit” for an unknown (and probably long gone) vinyl item.

I packed up two bags of books to bring over to my mother’s (she has easy access to a place where they can be donated). They were nothing exciting, mostly mass market paperbacks of the trashy mystery variety that I just wanted to be rid of. When she saw how many books there were, she was somewhat horrified that I was giving away “so many books.” I explained that it was maybe 40 crappy books, we have a couple thousand more at home, and this is just a drop in the bucket.

She then went through all the books, kept a pile for herself, and convinced me to keep two of them. I wonder where I get my packrat tendencies?

As part of my organizational efforts, I made a trip to the Container Store, whose motto should be “Overpriced boxes and storage solutions for people who have way too much stuff and obviously way too much money since they can afford the stuff AND the expensive boxes to put it in.” My gift wrap situation has been messy at best lately, so I purchased a gift wrap organizer that can hang on the inside of my coat closet door. They had a really fancy gift wrap organizer that turned into a platform for wrapping stuff on, but it was $100, and if you really need that, maybe you’re giving too many presents. (Or you’re Candy Spelling and you have a whole room that’s devoted to gift wrapping.) My gift wrap is now neatly organized, but the organizer did not provide enough space for my multitude of gift bags. Whatever am I to do?

I also purchased a hanging jewelry organizer. I actually think this item has the power to change my life. It has little clear pouches that you can place jewelry in, which keeps items from getting tangled (an issue with jewelry boxes) and you can see each item, which will help me to accessorize every morning and remember all the forgotten pieces I own. This is almost as good as the time that I harnessed the awesome power of the hook and got my purse collection under control.

The next step is organizing all my papers so I can do my taxes. That should send me totally over the edge. But they did have some super-cute expandable folders at the Container Store…

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Getting to Know the Neighbors

My neighbors are an interesting bunch. There’s the crazy lady downstairs who likes to complain that we hammer all the time. And then there’s the dominatrix upstairs. She hasn’t been too bad lately, although the sound of chains clanking against the floor does get old. I wish she would get some foam padding for them. At least we never hear the screams of her clients. I assume she’s all about the ball gag.

My next-door neighbors have been a mixed bag. Many people have cycled through that apartment in the last four years. Most have only lasted a few months and didn’t leave much of an impression. For a while, there was a 60-ish father/twenty-something son pair living there. The son was a total douchebag who fancied himself a “musician.” He enjoyed practicing his guitar in the wee hours of the morning. He only knew three songs, and one of them was an eardrum-puncturingly awful version of “Free Falling.” He had a girlfriend who lived in the building too, and I used to see him in the hall taking his guitar over to her place, presumably to serenade her. That relationship didn’t seem to last very long. She probably couldn’t stand the guitar playing either.

He and his father used to have very loud fights. Then the son moved out. The father stayed there on his own for a while after that. He was a little crazy, but totally harmless. He used to corner Lord Kissington and me in the halls to discuss the state of contemporary fiction. Not that I wasn’t interested in the topic, but I was way too polite to cut him off after a couple of minutes and I would get stuck talking to him forever, so I took to ducking into the stairwell if I saw him coming.

After he moved out, we had a couple of phantom neighbors. And then the screamer moved in. I first noticed her one night in December. I had woken up around 3 a.m. as I do most nights (insomnia’s a bitch) and as I was trying to fall back to sleep, I heard some strange noises. At first, I thought there was dog next door, which was odd since they don’t allow dogs in the building. Then it dawned on me that this was no dog.

I looked over and noticed that Lord Kissington was now awake too. This is unusual, since he’s a very heavy sleeper. But the dog-like noises were really loud.

Lord Kissington: Is that what I think it is?
Me: Yeah, I think so.
LK: Wow, she totally sounds like a panting puppy.
Me: Not so sexy.
LK: Yeah, not so much.
Me: Does it sound a little weird to you?
LK: How do you mean?
Me: Like sort of, I don’t know, artificial?
LK: Yeah, she’s totally faking.

This continued pretty frequently in December, so I figured she was in a new relationship. Things got quiet in January, so perhaps the December relationship didn’t last. There were a few incidents in the beginning of February, but nothing much recently. I can’t say it really bothers me that much. I usually sleep with earplugs on, so it’s not that bad (although she really is a screamer if I can still here with the earplugs on). Our major dilemma now is that we’re both afraid to see her. She’s lived next door for months now, and neither of us have seen her. Every time, I get off the elevator with a young woman, I’m afraid she’s going to stop at the apartment next to me, but she never does. I just don’t want to see her, because I really don’t want to have a mental image when I hear her yelping. Shudder.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's Not Just a Duty, It's a Privilege

I have been called for jury duty later this month. This is nothing new; I’ve been called numerous times since I’ve lived in DC. But this time is a little different—it’s Federal Court and I have a bad feeling that I’m not going to be able to get out of it. Back in September, I was called for jury duty for the Federal court. Unlike the regular DC court, which is one day or one trial service, with the Federal court, you are on call for two weeks and can be called in and selected at anytime during those two weeks. Since I had a business trip scheduled during the time for which I was called, I asked for a deferral, and it was granted. I knew they would get me sooner or later, and indeed, I got another summons. Only this one is a bit different. Instead of being on call for two weeks, I have been pre-selected for a specific trial, which is expected to last five weeks(!). I’ve asked for another deferral on the grounds of my job (if I were on a five-week trial, I would
basically still have to do my job as I have daily and weekly deadlines and no one to back me up full time). But I have a bad feeling they’re not going to buy the job excuse a second time.

Of all the times, I’ve been called for jury duty, I’ve only actually served on a trial once. The experience was pretty surreal. It ranged from the scary (a shackled witness wearing old school striped prison duds who got up to the witness stand and said “I ain’t sayin’ shit.”) to the funny (all the witnesses had giggle-inducing nicknames like “Shoop-Shoop”). It was a first degree murder trial, involving one crack dealer who allegedly killed another crack dealer. It was, for the most part, depressing as hell and often mind-numbingly boring. There were a few interesting moments, courtesy of one of the witnesses. Joy* took the stand one day, and I looked over at her and thought, hmmh, that woman sort of looks like a man. But she had a female-sounding name, so I figured maybe she just had very strong features. She identified herself as a prostitute who plied her trade in the area where the murder happened.

When questioned by the prosecutor as to why she was in an alley, she said that she was, “paying the water bill.”
The prosecutor replied, “And by ‘paying the water bill,’ you mean?”
“I was peeing,” Joy replied, as if he were a slow child who needed everything explained in great detail.

I love this euphemism, because it doesn’t really make any sense. It would seem to be more appropriate as another term for turning tricks, but whatever.

At another point during her testimony, Joy told the rather stiff judge, “You got it going on, girlfriend,” which was so absurd that everyone in the courtroom burst out laughing, including the judge.

I sat on the jury for eight days, taking copious notes. Some of the other jurors actually commented on my mad note-taking skills, asking if it was my first trial. They were mostly older, had served numerous times, and were pretty jaded about the whole process. But I figured, if I have to be here, I’m going to do it right. And when you’re potentially sending someone to prison for life, taking lots of notes can’t be a bad thing.

After we heard the closing arguments, the judge announced that the two alternates would be released at this point, before deliberations. There were 14 of us, and we didn’t know who the alternates were. They called my juror number and told me I was dismissed. I walked out of there, feeling a little weird. I was mostly relieved to be done, but I was partly disappointed that after putting in all that time (and taking all those damn notes), I wasn’t going to be deliberating. I heard from another juror (who was a friend of a friend) that the defendant was found guilty, which didn’t exactly come as a shock to me.

A year or two later, I was reading an article in the Post about a bail bondman who had hired two crack whores to kill his wife. (There are so many things wrong with that sentence. Beyond the obvious one of murder being wrong, is it really ever a good idea to hire crack whores for an intricate murder-for-hire plot? And wouldn’t a bail bondsman perhaps have access to a more professional grade of hitpeople?) Shockingly, the plot went awry, and the crack whores were arrested. One of them turned state’s evidence. The article described “her” as a male prostitute who dresses as a woman. And her name was Joy. Actually, I yelled, “I knew it. Because chicks totally don’t have Adam’s apples.”

*Not her real name.

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