Tea Princess Adventure — Jury Duty Summons

Jury duty is serious business, and this Tea Princess certainly understands that. Even so, when that jury duty summons arrived, my biggest concern wasn’t could I really sit in judgment on a fellow human being, weighing in a rational and objective manner the evidence presented to come up with a fair and just verdict. Uh uh. I had a much more important concern: could I have my trusty tea mug, filled with the appropriately steeped tea with the right amount of milk and sweetener, in that jury box with me? Then, a couple of other questions came to mind: “How am I going to last through however long needed without tea?” and “Can I have some kind of snack with that tea, such as scones, McVitie’s Digestives, cookies, or even a piece of fruit?”

Jury duty tea kit: A carafe of hot tea, an apple, and some yummy Scottish Shortbread!
Jury duty tea kit: A carafe of hot tea, an apple, and some yummy Scottish Shortbread!

The image filled my brain of me munching and chomping and gulping and slurping while the attorneys on both sides — prosecution and defense — did their best to present evidence to all twelve of us in that jury box and be heard over the noise. Of course, the court stenographer would also be straining to catch every word accurately. “…and here, ladies and gentleman of the fu… uh, jury,… you can see that this docu… somethingorother…” Let’s just say that the transcript would be a garbled mess.

Wisely, judges generally don’t allow eating and drinking in the courtroom.

So, what can a Tea Princess to do in such a situation? I had several weeks to think about it. These summonses get sent out well in advance of the date when the potential jurors would need to appear for duty. In fact, I wouldn’t find out if I needed to be at the courthouse until the day before I was supposed to be there. It gave me plenty of time to worry and fret and plot and plan.

Sitting through a trial is not the thrill ride that it can seem to be from movies. According to friends who’ve been there, it’s mostly sitting in an uncomfortable chair, trying not to be too cold or hot since keeping a consistent temperature in a courtroom is tricky business, doing your best to stay awake while the attorneys drone on about a bank statement that proves such-and-such or an affidavit from a key person showing malicious intent or some such thing. It’s all so important but so darn boring. And to endure it without tea was unthinkable!

A strategy was taking shape in my mind, just in case I was part of the group of potential jurors that would have to show up. My normal daily routine is to steep a pot in the morning for hubby and me to enjoy at breakfast, with a cup or two extra for sipping while I blog or tweet or whatever. Then, there is a mid-morning break where I steep a small pot of something such as Snow Dragon White Tea or Chun Mee Green Tea. They are soothing but also give me a great flavor boost. Then, there’s the luncheon pot of tea, usually something like Keemun or a Tawainese Oolong. In mid-afternoon, a brisk pot of Assam or even a Darjeeling blend gets me perked up from my drowsy slump. An evening potful is usually a lighter green tea such as Japanese Sencha. How do I cram all this in or streamline it for a schedule that would be quite different?

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Get up extra early and steep a pot of Breakfast Blend, drink at least two cupfuls.
  • Fill a travel mug and drink it on the half hour ride to the courthouse. Also bring along some — gasp! — teabags for lunchtime.
  • At the lunch break use one of those teabags to make a cuppa tea or two.
  • After court, make more tea to refill the travel mug for the trip home.
  • Once home, collapse in relief and steep a fresh pot of loose leaf tea and hog it all to myself.

A great plan! Fortunately, I did not have to put it into action, since when I called the night before I was supposed to show up at the courthouse, the recorded message said that I was not in the group that needed to appear. Phew! Uh, I mean, darn! (I’m well prepared for next time, though!)

[Recently, Curtiss Ann Matlock, who has written for this blog in the past, served on a jury and says she fortified herself well with tea beforehand.]

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9 thoughts on “Tea Princess Adventure — Jury Duty Summons

  1. Pingback: Weekend Highlights – Noteworthy Articles by Fellow Bloggers – Feb 25, 2012 « Granny's Parlour

  2. Honey, my jury stint was awful! I did get up early so as to have two good cups of tea under my belt. I had to go to the city for an entire week! Even though I did not get put on a jury. And there was a break room for jurors, with coffee of course. Don’t we hate an interruption in our routines?! I would come home and collapse, just as you describe, with a good cup of Darjeeling, calming my nerves. The above comment is spot on about being cautious of ingesting too much liquid. A couple of times, awaiting notices and being called to selection, we sat a long time without a break. The point was made that people at work are guaranteed a break; jurors apparently are not.

    Great post! Gave me a smile. Oh, and may I sort of plug a English Tea Store product– the small round tins to hold 25 tea bags. Yes, dear, tea bags. The tins are practical and darling!

  3. Quite a dilemma. Perhaps you have just begun to devise a new approach to courtroom practices whereby in some “lighter” cases jurors, attorneys, prosecution, defense and the accused would sit at a round table and share tea and cookies during the trial. Why not? This would bring everyone to the same level and perhaps truly lead to a fair trial among peers of the human race. On another note, my main concern would be whether I can sit for even an hour after ingesting so much liquid!

      1. I used to sit on a reparative justice board. For example, we met with DUI “offenders” (I hate that word) and together created a community service contract as a means to repay society for their offense. We did not serve tea and cookies, but it was a round table environment and the dynamics and civility of it were incredible. It is possible to have justice without making someone who has made a “wrong” choice in their lives feel like they are a lesser person. Some of them actually joined the board after this experience and others who were unemployed were offered jobs via their community service contract.

      2. A.C. Cargill

        You mean you didn’t lock them in wooden stocks? Hee! Seriously, sounds very civilized (except for not having any tea and cookies). 🙂

      3. I think in reality some of us board members should have been locked in wooden stocks (yours truly included). I say this because there seemed to be one question in the back of our minds, always: “Who am I to judge another human being?”

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