The other night I called in and found out I had to report for jury duty. The message said I have to report by 7:30 in the morning. Great, I think, I forgot to do the stupid orientation online.
So I get to the courthouse, and I sit there from 7:30 to 10:30 in the morning, listening to instructions and waiting for my name to be called. When it is, me and 34 other people are told to go upstairs to Department 16. Outside in the large hallway I'm given a number.
I'm juror #7.
We're told to line up in order and then we're let in through the double doors. Inside the courtroom all the the walls are made of wood.
We each have an assigned seat, and since I'm wearing #7, I'm up in the box.
There's a yellow questionnaire on my seat and after we're all seated the judge and the attorneys introduce themselves along with a few other people. We're given a brief overview of the case, and then each of us in the box take turns answering the 9 questions on the questionnaire.
Everyone seems to be having a good time. I even think to myself, I can't remember the last time I told a room full of strangers about myself, about my past. It feels kind of nice.
When all fourteen of us are done it’s almost noon. Because the judge has some function in the afternoon she says we’re going to be let out early.
“Report here tomorrow morning by 10,” she says. Dope.
The following day, I return to Department 16, they take roll, and then we walk in single file again. I'm back in the box.
But not even fifteen minutes into the proceeding we're told there's an earthquake drill so we exit the building. Wonderful, I think.
We walk outside, wait about ten minutes, and then we start heading back in when we're told to get out again. Bomb threat. Are you effing kidding me?
But I don't really care. It's a nice day. There are hundreds of us standing around in this beautiful park waiting to be told what to do. I don't think even one person really thought there could be a bomb inside.
I eventually find a shaded spot and sit on the grass and start writing on my phone. An hour passes. An hour and a half. Then the bailiff tells us to go ahead and get lunch.
"Just come back by 1:30," she says.
Cool, maybe I'll check out the museum next door, I'm thinking, but as I start walking one of the other jurors, this girl, we'll call her Grace, says they're going to have lunch and asks if I want to come along. Sure why not, I say, but as soon as I say it I regret it. I really wanted to go to the museum and just hang out alone, but now it’s too late.
At the restaurant the four of us sit at a square table and, after we order, we begin to talk. We talk about our kids, pets, what we do, etc. When I say where I work, the other woman says she knows some people at my company. I work at a big company, so I figure I wouldn't know any of them, but I ask anyway, "Oh, who do you know?"
She says a person's name, and it's the chairman of my company. My eyes light up because I believe her. The way she's dressed, and the way she looks, she looks like someone who could know the chairman of my company. I'm not on that level.
But that was nothing.
Eventually me and the other guy in our group start talking about stocks. This leads to talking about crypto. I tell him I'm really into Bitcoin Cash.
"The scam coin?" he says. He doesn't say it like he's being mean. It's like a reflex, like he's been programmed to say it.
"No, it's not a scam. I know what you've been told, but there's a lot of development going on with Bitcoin Cash. You should really look deeper into it," I say.
"Maybe I will," he says. Then adds, "Wait, didn't it get delisted from Bittrex?"
I want to slap my palm against my forehead.
"No, that's Bitcoin Gold," I say.
When it's time to go back the woman who knows the chairman of my company wants to Uber it to the courthouse. She’s nice and invites the rest of us to join her, but the other guy and I say we'll walk. Grace says she’ll go with her.
The guy and I keep talking.
He tells me how he was really into crypto last year but has kind of lost interest cuz of the bear market.
"I'm still pretty obsessed," I say.
Then he tells me he's in this private chat group but hardly anyone ever posts anymore. A couple of other things he says prompts me to ask, "Wait, is it called '________'"?
He smiles and we both can't believe it.
I tell him who got me into the chat, let’s call him Bennet, and he says he knows Bennet. We start tripping on what a small world it is.
When we get back to the courthouse they take roll again and we enter the courtroom. We go through the process of jury selection, and I'm actually a little disappointed when the plaintiff’s attorney has me removed.
As I walk back to my car I message the guy in the chat saying it was nice to meet him and to tell me how the case ends up. (He was one of the people replacing me in the box.)
The next day, he messages me back and says, "I got lucky I barely got released! But Grace got stuck on the jury, and she knows Bennet too!”
There are about 500 people in that chat crypto group from all over the country. The jury I was on was composed of 35 randomly selected people from a city of millions. Because of a bomb threat, 4 of us decided to have lunch.
3 out of the 4 knew Bennet.
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