I’m doing jury service at the moment. It’s conceptually fascinating and there’s a LOT of marginalia I want to share, but I’m going to wait until it’s over so that I don’t have to step around quite so much of the narrative.
What I can say is that it involves a great deal of waiting. Every day is like waiting for a delayed train in a moderately decent suburban station. It’s warm and there’s WiFi, but I’ve worked my way through the Sainsbury’s sandwich counter and I’ve decided to stick with fruit, nuts and the occasional posh tartlet from the bakery fridge. There’s rumours of a pizza place down the road somewhere, but I haven’t ventured that far afield.
You’d sort of hope that the state, having grabbed you for a fortnight, would take the opportunity of a captive audience to cram your downtime with good stuff: first aid courses, Pilates and language lessons. I cannot confirm that these occur. (The court staff are super nice, though.)
When Mrs H did her jury service last month (it’s a random draw, and randomness throws up consiliences, which humans counterfeiting randomness paradoxically tend to reject, often producing recognisably non-random strings) she found the waiting very hard, and it’s true that it’s fatiguing and frustrating. One of the advantages of the writing life is portability, though, so I’ve been editing the second Titanium Noir novel one more time before delivering it up. Probably not as fast as I would at home, but getting through it just the same.
But I haven’t got much more than that to tell you right now; it feels as if everything is on hold until it’s done. Although the journey to and from court is fascinating in its own right - it takes me through a maze of automobile-first, human-second spaces with their own beauty and horror.
I’m in disguise as a responsible adult.
Second Novel? I thought the first only just came out (though I'm stuck until May when the audiobook drops x,x). That's exciting.
I find your reflections on the human place in our increasingly modern society interesting, so thanks for continuing to publish them :-)
I've served on juries twice here in the US, and it *was* fascinating. The first jury were very diverse and to my shame, I was surprised at how intelligent they all were. A good lesson for me! We ended up all concurring on our verdict (it was an automotive rear-ender injury suit), but the second one was very frustrating for me because it transpired that one know-it-all in an expensive suit went into deliberations with his mind made up and I couldn't get my fellow jurors to apply logic to the facts because they were all dazzled by his smooth manipulations and bought into his classist BS. But, still, enlightening as to the process and educational for me. It was a more complex traffic accident case and I was in the losing minority against finding for the plaintiff. I hope you enjoy your experience! (We had to go out and forage for our own lunches each day.)