Monday, November 18, 2013

The Curious Story of the Runaway Juror Who Loved Indian Food

     So what have I been up to lately?  Quite a bit, let me tell you.  I received a summons for Jury Duty, and had quite the adventure trying to get out of it.  I also had an awesome excursion with the "History Guys" on a quest for Indian Food (Taj India to be specific, I could just about live there.)  Then I had an occasion to be a forager.  Yep, a forager.  It was me and my fellow History Guy, Tim.  We were a team of foragers for an experiment in our Environmental Science Lab.  I could add some more events, but I think the attempted escape from Jury Duty, Indian Food, and Chris and Tim the foragers should provide plenty of material for this particular post.  To describe this I'm going to mash-up a Winston Churchill quote with one of mine.  "We shall defend our Indian food, whatever the cost may be, although it is normally $7.50 for the buffet, we shall fight the Jury Duty summons, we shall fight the heartburn, we shall fight skinned knees from foraging, we shall fight all those who oppose any of these things.  We shall never surrender, unless of course there is some Gulab Jamun in it for me."  On to the story.
     I have been called for Jury Duty several times over the years, and I have never once served on a Jury.  Normally, they don't pick me due to my background in Law Enforcement.  I've had pretty good luck getting excused, and when I received a summons recently I figured that I could do the same.  I was mistaken.  Sadly mistaken.  They just don't let you out of Jury Duty like they used to in the good old days.  No matter how many fake maladies you try to invent.  It doesn't matter.  I suppose you have to say, "The Voices told me to be here, so I came" to get out of it, or talk about how much you loved that book on "Anarchy."  I was able to get it delayed once, but then I had to appear.  I spent about a week letting everyone know that I had jury duty.  I assumed that I had all my bases covered, but you know what happens when you assume, right?  Sure enough, the one thing that I forgot to fix was my duties as the Uber Dad.  Yep, in all that arranging and notifying, I totally forgot about my kids' welfare.  Come Monday, the first day of Jury Duty, I had absolutely no child care set up for my children.  Now, this caused me quite a bit of stress, but then I thought to myself, "Hey, you know what?  This is an excuse to be dismissed!  That's right, they can't deny my stay at home dad needs, now can they."  I thought that I had it all figured out, and my horrible mistake had led to quite the silver lining in the proverbial dark cloud.  I arrived at the Jury room that morning pretty confident.  While I was waiting for the judges to give directions I overheard the people behind me talking about, "Uncle Moses" and his "Bad Prostrate."  Didn't need to know any of that.  Then a lady wearing what looked like fish net stockings and leg warmers sat beside me.  She asked, "Sweetie, you don't mind me sitting here do you?"  I responded, "No," but then she began to tell me her life story.  Which is cool and all.  Heck, I'm quite a talker too, so I don't mind it all that much.  However, this lady not only had questionable fashion choices, but she smelled like pickles.  Hard core vinegar pickles.  Kind of like those that Granny used to can back in the day and keep in the basement.  Pickle girl told me that she had recently had surgery on her pinky toe, and that had left her incapacitated.  She put her hands in the air and started waving them exclaiming, "Thank you Jesus for them Lortabs."  I began to wonder if she wasn't still under the influence of opiates at the moment.  Finally, the judges arrived and began to give their pep talk about how important Jury Duty is.  I realize that in a free society, and under the umbrella of democracy that Jury trials are very important.  We should all understand how important this service is, and I don't dispute that at all.  However, there is quite a bit of time wasted in this process, and the one judge even wanted us to waive our $10 jury fee.  I thought, "Heck, I'll pay you 20 if you let me go."  At the end of the pep talk they always give the prospective jurors a chance to come up with any last chance excuses to be dismissed.  I left pickle girl, and she really seemed saddened by this, but I had to go and tell one of the judges that my daddy duties called.  I waited in my line to speak with the Judge, and she seemed a bit gruff to say the least.  I walked up to her and said, "I'm sorry, but I am a Stay-at-home dad, and I am my children's sole provider during the day.  I have had an issue with child care, and I have no one to care for my kids today or the rest of the week."  I began to walk toward the dismissal area, but she stopped me and said, "Well, that's no reason to be excused."  I said, "In all due respect Judge, I truly have NO ONE to pick up my kids.  I can't just turn them out to the wilds of North Jefferson County."  She reiterated, "That's just not good enough.  You have had ample time to take care of this."  I was getting a little miffed with Miss Crusty Judge by this time, and I said, "Look, I understand what you're saying, but I don't have a lot of options.  Trust me, and my Saint of a wife cannot change her entire schedule for Jury Duty.  I'm really sorry, but she can't.  Furthermore, my kids have nowhere to go this afternoon, and that's the main point of this whole thing."  She didn't like that.  She told me go and stand in the corner and wait.  Seriously.  Now, I have never been discriminated against in my life, at least not that I was aware of, however I got the distinct impression that if I would have been a woman this would have gone more smoothly.  I can't be 100% sure, but it seemed that this was the case from the other interactions I saw on this day.  Let me say this, that was not a good feeling, not a good feeling at all.  I stayed in my corner until the Judge finally dismissed me, and put the well-being of my children ahead of whatever court case they wouldn't have put me on in the first place.  Once she released me I waved goodbye to the pickle girl and got the heck out of Dodge...in a hurry, just in case she changed her mind!
     Well, the History guys were able to eat some awesome Indian food at good old Taj India last week.  Awesome food all the way around.  This time, like every other time, we all crammed into my Nissan Xterra and drove down to the restaurant.  However, we had a couple of new additions to the group on this day.  In addition to Sir Tim, Kerry Wallace-Reagan, Carl the Conqueror, and Cristos the Spartan (that's me) we had none other than the Tyrant of the Athens game: George the Great.  I expect great things out of young George.  He could very easily be a fine politician, maybe even President one day.  He could also make a fine Shakespearean actor if he would so choose.  Now the other addition, and a drumroll would be in order..........(pretend that the periods are a drumroll).........(still drumroll)...........The Man who will forever be known as the reincarnated Gaius Julius Caesar or Pericles ghost, and the King of all things Greek or Roman.  The Man with the Iron Beard, and you definitely need to fear the beard.  Dr. Walter Ward!  The man, the myth, the legend, joined us History guys for some fine Indian cuisine.  FYI, he did not ride in my Xterra.  My wife has forbidden any person with letters behind their name to ride in my Xterra.  She is ashamed of the inside of my vehicle, but hey old French fries, Dora Dolls, and Baseball/Football equipement add character to an interior.  Fun was had by all, and many important topics were discussed.  Like, "Who Really Killed Kennedy," "Alcibiades is Awesome," "Tim descending from Othello," (if that's possible, I think that Othello is a fictional character, but I'm not sure) and "Phrases that are misunderstood in other countries and could lead to some very uncomfortable moments."  Just don't ever say "Animaniacs" in Jordan.  Like ever.  Trust me.
     I'm going to close it out with a little foraging.  My main man Tim and I were a part of a foraging experiment where we actually had to do some searching for tiny food stuffs, kinda like birds or something.  Not to ruin the story, but we died.  Died rather quickly, at least in the last two experiments.  It's kind of hard to look cool while you're on your hands and knees searching for macaroni and kidney beans in thick grass outside of Campbell Hall.  I did my best though, and in true Cristos the Spartan form I left with bloody knees from the sheer discipline and determination shown in the foraging exercise.  Or was it stupidity... tough call.  Needless to say, I will never look at kidney beans the same way again.  We had one exercise where we were supposed to harass the foragers any way we could, and this was pretty fun.  Hootin and Hollerin running around waving my arms and stomping like a Wildman.  A very unusual sight, unless of course you happen to be in Mt. Olive on a Saturday when the Crimson Tide is on TV.  Then that's a regular occurrence.  I also tried to play Spandau Ballet to harass my fellow foragers, but I couldn't get it pulled up in time.  I had to settle for "Cult of Personality" which was already queued up on the ole iPhone.  Unfortunately, this song fired up the surviving foragers and my plan backfired.  Oh well, live and learn.  It was real.  It was fun.  But it wasn't real fun.  That's all I got.  By the way, if you are ever on the Southside of Birmingham and are looking for a fine meal, stop by Taj India.  Get the Saag, it's like heaven on a plate.  I'm going back tomorrow, and I'm going to try not to tick off any Judges along the way.