Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Well, my karma is good.



Friday morning I wrote down the directions to the courthouse from Google Maps. I headed out the door at about 8:15, worried that I would miss the 9am start time and be held in contempt of court.



I saw a huge line outside the Multnomah County Courthouse, so I parked in a garage a few blocks away and stood at the back of the line, which by now was wrapping around the side of the building.



There were all kinds of people in line, and I suspected that jurors would come from all walks of life. But just to be sure I was in the right place, I asked the guy behind me if this was indeed the correct line. "This is the line just to get in the place", he responded.



Wow, so this line included jurors, witnesses, defendants, plaintiffs, reckless drivers, embezzlers, and possibly lawyers and undercover police officers.




Multnomah County Courthouse in the Fall 2006
SW Portland near the Multnomah County Courthouse - Fall 2006
I looked around. I knew exactly where I was. I rode my brother's scooter down here one Sunday last fall. There is a small park right out front of the courthouse with tall trees and park benches. Perhaps one of the best photographs I had ever taken was taken at the end of the block.



Just then, an officer split the line into two, starting just three people ahead of me. The officer said something inaudible to the woman and she started walking. He directed us to follow her. She led us to another entrance that reminded me of airport security.



"Sir, you must step back through, take your belt off, and place it on the conveyor belt", I take off my belt and walk through. The alarm buzzes again. "Hold your arms straight out."



I make it through security and am not surprised to see what looked like a Starbucks in the lobby! These Portlanders really like their coffee! I skip the coffee and head to Jury Room 130, where there is another line with about five people in it. They are waiting to talk to an older woman who is sitting in front of a computer and processing potential jurors. She hands the guy in front of me a badge. He looks tired. So does the woman behind me. Neither one of them wants to be here, so perhaps I felt a little guilty when the old woman at the desk told me I had been excused!



Apparently, my employer sent a letter on my behalf requesting that I be excused! The pen is truly mightier than the sword. I left the courthouse, paid for parking, and headed to work just in time for our morning coffee run, which happened to include our CEO, who has never attended a coffee run, who bought everyone's coffee and bagels, who we were able to talk to outside the walls of the office!



They say Friday the 13th is a bad day? What’s the deal with that! I don't necessarily believe that hocus pocus, but I do think that it is a day of power. It is whatever you make of it. For me, it may have saved me thousands of dollars in late fees and missed work.

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