Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whimsical Wednesday: Alive and Tap Dancing

Because I'm just not quite kicking but I got the rhythm in me.

Or something like that.

Anyhow.  Hi!  It's been a somewhat sucky and busy several days.  Let's recap.

Saturday I slogged through a painful run.  Still had the pinched nerve issue.  I'd run a couple of miles and then it either went numb or the nerve pain went away and then I could run fine for a couple of miles.  Then my whole right buttcheek would turn into one big muscle cramp.  The nerve pain was tolerable, the muscle cramp not so much.  So we'd walk for a while until it released then the nerve pain started again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  After the third round of this I didn't think the cramp was going to quit so we walked for a while as I debated whether or not I was done for the day. 

Which is when I noticed the searing pain in my left foot.  See, all of the foregoing was in the rain.  Which on the whole I don't really mind, because there is always a point where you're not going to get any wetter so who cares?  Except that it was wet enough to get my shoes wet and I didn't think it was going to rain in the morning so I hadn't put any Bodyglide between my toes.  If you've been following me for a while, you know that I've only had blisters once while running and that was when my shoes got wet.  My big toe gets all up close and personal with my second toe and I get a blister in between the toes there.  Not fun. 

Shortly after I noticed the searing pain in my left foot, I realized it was likely because whatever blister had already popped.  You just know when a body part feels like so much raw meat because it is.  Ironically, the muscle cramp in my ass had let up by then so I felt like I could've finished out the 18 miles except for the whole hamburger-in-a-shoe thing I had going on.  Y'all, it hurt even to operate the clutch in my car. 

It was great trepidation that I took off that shoe and pulled down my sock to assess the damage.  To my disgusted fascination, I found I had a balled up piece of skin the size of a pea hanging by a thread from my toe; that's what was pressing into the area of raw meat it came from and causing the searing pain.  It was gross.  I had developed a blister about a half inch long and at least a 1/16th of an inch deep.  And the skin just isn't all that thick right there to start with so shudder.  It pretty much recontoured my toe right there.

I skipped Monday's run to let my foot heal a bit.  Monday was also my return visit to the chiropractor.  I told him we had to take care of this, dammit.  So after my adjustment I got to take a spin on the decompression table.  Yippee!

If you're not familiar with decompression, it's basically like treating your spine like a slinky.  Cervical decompression is where you lay down on a table and stick your head into a vise.  There are also straps across your forehead.  Then the machine tries to pop off your head.  It's interesting.  For spinal decompression, you lay on a table that has a break in the middle; the break lines up with your waist.  They really strap you in for this one, pecs to hips, like you're Scarlett O'Hara getting ready for a BBQ.  Then the machine tries to pull off your lower body.  This is the kind I had done and again, it's interesting.  If your pants are a little loose, you spend the whole time waiting for them to be pulled off.  I can't imagine what it's like for men since they have no hips. 

The whole idea is to increase the spaces between the vertrebrae and unpinch the nerves.
I have to say it did a fairly effective job.  I felt like a slinky and the nerve pain subsided for the most part.  So, bonus!  It does a number on the muscles though since they've been treated a lot like taffy during the decompression process, and those were feeling a bit abused.  But achy and stiff muscles I can handle.  Drugs work for those, and so does ice and heat.

Complicating things a tad was that I got to exercise my most important aspect of my United States citizenship and serve jury duty yesterday.  After more than 20 years of registered votership and over 15 years in the legal profession, I'd still never been called.  And yes, lawyers can serve jury duty; lots of my friends asked me that, I think seriously, which surprised me.  Anyhow, I was looking forward to to the experience.  My boss, not so much.  He never said yay or nay, so after looking at the calendar for the next twelve months I just scheduled myself a vacation day and really freaking early on Tuesday headed downtown to the courthouse.

In my county, service is one day or one trial.  You show up by 8:00 a.m., you're going to be there until 5:00 p.m. unless they dismiss you (i.e., no more trials are scheduled for that day so no more need for potential jurors) or you get selected for a trial and that trial concludes.  Could be 30 minutes, could be all day.  When a judge calls down that they've got a trial going forward, they select 40 potential jurors from the batch that showed up that day; I'd guess there were around 160 of us when we started.  I'm guessing they allocated 40 potential jurors per trial scheduled that day.  If they had all settled by the end of the previous day, we wouldn't have needed to come in. 

After the orientation stuff, a group got called up right after.  A second group got called up around 10:00 a.m.  Not long after eleven, the coordinators were telling us they were hoping to release us for good before noon.  But nope.  Shortly before lunch my name was finally called -- in what they call a holding pool.  Meaning they kept back about 50 of us in the event the last trial on that day's schedule went forward.  So I had to come back after lunch.  Thankfully the chairs were comfy -- seriously comfy, actually -- but sitting for so long was doing a number on my hip.  Just stiff, though, not the shooting pain I've been having. 

After lunch they're still talking about potentially releasing us all.  And then, at 3:30, the judge calls down and wants a pool of jurors.  I get called and we make our way to a teeny weeny courtroom on the seventh floor.  Like, 20 people in the room would've seemed kinda crowded and we had more than twice that what with the sheriff's deputies, counsel, the clerk, etc.  We get a brief introduction to what's going on and then the judge reads the indictment.  All fifteen counts of it.  Kidnapping, multiple counts of assault, harassment, identity theft, mail theft, forgery -- all in a domestic situation. 

Then we get to go through the voir dire process.  They don't show this too much on television, but it's been in a few movies.  The John Grisham/John Cusack movie The Runaway Jury is a good one for this.  A really fascinating look at a part of the process that usually isn't that big of a deal in most trials.  Anyhow, the judge and then the lawyers ask the potential jurors questions.  The first big one was right after the reading of the charges, whether what anyone had heard made them concerned they couldn't be fair and impartial.  About a dozen people pegged on this one, what with the domestic violence aspect.  The judge questioned each one so you got to hear their stories.  Fairly personal stuff too.  Most, but not everyone out of that group, got dismissed by the judge right away. 

We went next into the do you know anyone involved in this case.  Which includes the responding police officers.  Lastly they have you answer six or eight questions:  your name, what do you do, where do you live, with whom do you live and what do they do, hobbies -- I told them I run marathons for fun, have you ever been involved in court proceedings, been the victim of a crime.  The final question was interesting:  who would you say knows you best and what would they say about you?  My first thought was my mom but then I started thinking that I wouldn't necessarily say my mother knows me best.  But I didn't want to explain my thinking behind that one -- I was on a court bench, not a shrink's couch -- so I did say my mom and that I was honest to the point of being obnoxious and that I'm not always as funny as I think I am. 

Ooh, forgot one part (if you're still reading this!).  The judge said the trial was expected to take three days.  We got to say if we had a hardship with that.  I did raise my hand, not so much on my behalf -- I thought the case sounded very interesting and I really wanted to serve -- but on my boss's.  Figured if I did get picked I could at least tell him that I tried to get out of it.  The judge understood but said if I did get selected he'd call my boss and explain things to him.  Snerk.  Sadly, they filled the jury before they had to get to me. 

Overall, I loved the experience.  Even just hanging out in the jury room all day -- I read two books and watched a lot of CNN yesterday -- was pretty nifty because I was there, ready to go if I was needed.  As they point out in the orientation and in the courtroom, many people have died fighting for our right to a trial by jury.  It was so important that it was included in the Declaration of Independence, not just in the Constitution.  Yeah, it's a pain because we all have obligations but it is a necessary and integral part of our legal system.  I don't know anyone who has actually served on a jury and regretted it.  If you get called, make the best out of it you can.  Read, write, browse the 'net.  Nap if you can get comfortable enough.  One person brought a pillow.  I rarely get downtown anymore so during my lunch break I went down to the mall food court where I used to go all the time and ate while I people watched.  I would've tracked down my favorite food cart but I didn't have cash and didn't want to limp all around downtown looking for it. 

So, that's been my week.  How about yours?  Has anyone actually served on a jury?

the CilleyGirl


  1. Wow! What a post - we covered a lot today, didn't we?!

    I still haven't been called. This is my second time having jury duty - but ours sounds different. I am number 577. Every night after work I call and listen to a recording. They say which numbers need to show up the next day. So far they've only called jurors two days this month and we are at 140. I guess I have a week and a half left to be called - we serve for a month. If your number is called, I don't know how that days goes. Last time I had jury duty I never had my number called either.

    I was so grossed out yet impressed and wanting to see this ball of flesh. Too cool!

    Are you going to be all fixed for Portland? I've been studying every detail of the website this afternoon. I'm excited! I don't feel prepared, but I'm still excited!

  2. I have two weeks in November where I may get my chance to serve. I need an attitude adjustment, since I don't want to waste my time...

  3. While it was kind of nice to have time to read more or less uninterrupted for several hours, I have to say that it was going through the voir dire process at the end that made the entire day not a waste of time. The right to a jury really is an important right and there have been times where there just haven't been enough potential jurors, resulting in a lot of wasted taxpayer money to reschedule the whole thing. And really, how many times do we get called up for it in our lifetime? It seemed to me a good trade off compared to everything else I enjoy as a citizen.