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?”
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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