My first reaction to the jury summons was to claim hardship. I’m blind, I need my Seeing Eye dog, I require sighted guides. The whole litany. But I didn’t use blindness as an excuse to be excused. I wanted to be measured on par with other prospective jurors
Still, I expected catastrophes—paratransit SNAFUs, inconsiderate crowds, institutional ignorance. As it was, the process flowed flawlessly. I passed from elbow to elbow all the way to the Jury Room. The summons had counseled to bring a book and be prepared to wait. So I read and waited. Randy dozed at my feet.
Around noon, Randy became agitated. He panted and paced. Before we could traverse the maze and gain the great outdoors, Randy had an episode of diarrhea. No one, save Randy, was more surprised than I.
Order was restored. The clerk handed me a check for $17.20 and told me I was excused from jury duty. A deputy escorted us from the building. I was humbled, not by the power of Randy’s GI cluster bomb, but by the kindness of strangers who didn’t have to be so nice.
That was yesterday. Randy has regained equilibrium. But I’m fretful. While I’m glad I gave jury duty a shot, I feel bad about the mess we left behind. I feel worse if we lent credence to the cliché that you can’t take a blind person out in public, that guide dogs are filthy and undisciplined and that blind people should just stay home and stay out of trouble.
I will not be summoned for jury duty for at least a year. That’s the law. Next time, I wonder if I’ll claim hardship. Or maybe we’ve been flagged for the hardship we caused. Or perhaps we’ll show up and be counted. The jury’s still out.