Hello to anyone who still might be following this blog. I see that I haven’t updated in about, oh, a year. If you are reading this, thank you.
To refresh your memories, I’m the Deputy Jury Duty Clerk for our District Court. That means that I send the love letters/jury summons to our local citizens. I do this all from my office and don’t have to deal with many people face to face. When jury questionnaires are sent out, then some people show up to talk or yell at me. For the most part, I do most communication over the phone. I’m responsible for one tiny part of our court system. I know it very well and love doing it. To the best of my knowledge, there have been no complaints about me. The Judges and their Assistants seem to think I’m doing ok. Keep in mind that it may just be a tiny part of the system but it’s My tiny part.
There are many, many other functions of our office and, for now, I will focus on the Courtroom Clerks job. These are the gals that always look put together and get to push cute little carts with files in them. They are tiny and have a lot to do inside and outside the courtroom. Honestly, I don’t know everything they do: filing; recording the minutes in the courtroom for hearing and jury trials; scanning a lot of stuff they just typed up; look amazing with make-up and everything. As they wheel their carts o’ files past my office, some say ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’. They look adorable and I’m sprawled out in my chair with cookie crumbs on my lip and coffee down the front of my shirt. Sometimes I’m playing with my wand or wearing a tiara as I try to gather jury candidates for my favorite Judges. The courtroom clerks are in a whole different world than my little messy one. They have to swear folks in; get the Judge; and other important stuff. I just swear when I hang up the phone and hope that a Judge never wants to summon me for something bad. My own little world is mine and I like it that way.
Imagine the shock, errr delight, when my Supervisor, let’s call her Torture Queen, (TQ), called me into her office for a minute to disrupt my little world. Not knowing that my life is going to change, I go bee popping in there and sprawl across a chair. I ask if I’m in trouble and find out that I’m not. Torture Queen clears her throat and says, “Do you remember how we were going to cross-train you in the courtroom?” All I can do is stare at her and blink. I replied, “Um, yup but then it was my Questionnaire season and I got busy. I figured that you forgot all about it and I was ok with that.” She continued, “We really want to have you cross trained to work in the courtroom. It will help if a courtroom clerk is on vacation or ill. It’s not bad. You will like it.” (My Mom said the same thing about broccoli. She lied too.) I laughed, honestly hoping this was a joke. Alas, she was not smiling. I whined that I’m not responsible or good with stuff that is not my stuff. I batted my baby brown eyes, trying to focus the one that wanders in hopes that would help. It didn’t. TQ told me that I would be “shadowing” a courtroom clerk. I was there to observe and watch how things were done. I like the idea of observing, I’m pretty good at that. I had a feeling that observing will turn into doing. That’s the part TQ really is going for. I just know it.
She asked which courtroom clerk I wanted to shadow. I told her Mrs. B because I know her best. I also know the court reporter for that Judge and like her too. I also figured that if I had a stupid question, then Mrs. B would reply, “Oh, Berns and explain it to me in a patient way. So go with what you know, right? Yeah? No. No court for Mrs. B’s Judge this week. Cool! Then it will have to wait? No. It has to be done this week! I sensed the air bleed out of my proverbial balloon. So, I picked the quietest gal in the office as she seems to be in court all the time. Ms. M is very sweet and very, very quiet. I tend to tease her about being so very quiet. Another friend of mine moved to sit next to Ms. M and I told Ms. M, “I don’t want to hear so much noise from you that people ar0und here can’t work.” Seriously, she is so very quiet but also funny and has a great sense of humor. The first time she teased me back, I about dropped my teeth. Score one for Ms. M! TQ pulled the schedule for Ms. M’s Judge and it was full, as in stuff all day, I think. See that scares me. If you are in court all day, then how do you get stuff done? Huh? How? I grudgingly agreed to do it. I don’t really have a lot of choice but I like to pretend that it’s my decision. TQ reminded me that I had to dress for court – no crocs; no boa; no tiara; nice slacks; and she went on and on. Did I say that she is the Torture Queen?
I rushed out of TQ’s office and flew to the Bookkeeper’s office to whine to her. She is usually good for at least a little reassurance. She took great glee in my pain and then looked at my teva sandals and said, “She told you that you can’t wear crocs or those sandal right?” I thought my sandals looked okay. She insisted that they were not okay, so we both went marching back to TQ’s office. The Bookkeeper said, “I told her she can’t wear those sandals, they look like flip flops.” Then the Bookkeeper pulled up her pant leg and showed me her fancy nancy sandals and said, “You have to wear sandals like this. You are wearing flip flops.” This was from the woman who d0esn’t have to go to court. TQ told the BK that she told me that I cannot wear my tiara, boa or bring my wand to court. They discussed how I might want to wear big girl pants and not capris and perhaps a bit of make up just for fun. They were both getting great glee at my torture. Trying to be helpful with dos and don’t as far as what to wear. I told them I’m sure I have black slacks in the closet but I don’t want to wear them. They asked why and I replied, ‘Because my lint brush is here and we have a gazillion animals and you would have to lint brush my backside.” They told me to find other pants because they would not be doing that. I suggested my dress with bones and skulls on it again that was a no go. Then I suggested my black tutu skirt and that won’t work either. I asked if I could drink coffee or water in court. TQ chuckled and said, “Bernadette, you are not going to camp. You won’t be gone forever. Watch when she shows up with her little pink backpack to go to court.”
When I got home I started digging in my closet to find something for tomorrow. Then I called my Mom and said, “Mumma, they are making me go in the courtroom and I don’t wanna.” My Mom was of no help, “Oh, Bern that will be fun. Don’t you think that will be fun?”, she exclaimed excitedly. My reply? “No, Mother. I do not think that would be fun. You are my Mom. Can’t you call my boss and tell them I don’t have to?” She told me as much as she would love to do that, I was a big girl and to suck it up and enjoy it.” Well! Allrighty then. No sympathy from her. Maybe Mr. B will care.
Mr. Bernie was my last chance at sympathy and I milked it for all I could. I pouted when he got home and tried to make myself cry. I did my best pouting lip quiver ever but couldn’t get sobbing snot bubbles to form fast enough. He looked concerned and asked, “Bernadette are you ok?” I told him, “No, TQ is making me go to court tomorrow and I don’t wanna!” His said, “Oh,that will be fun for you because you are nosy.” I explained TQ’s cross training plan and he replied, “Ohhhhh, does that mean that the TQ is going to cross train in jury? That will be great for when you take a vacation!!” I had to tell him it doesn’t quite work that way as she is my boss and I can’t just suggest she learn jury. But it did give me a good laugh.
So now I’m sitting here wondering if I can call in sick tomorrow. I do feel a little under the weather – cough, cough. I’m trying to figure out what all this “fun” will be and hope that I don’t do something wrong in court. The tutu and tiara are my best hope for being excused from court room work. I’m the deputy jury clerk, darn it! I’m not the cute and perky type to flit around the building like a real professional. I feel more like a fake professional. I just don’t wanna. However, I do want to keep my job. So I’ll go. I just hope I don’t throw up again. Wish me luck!