Saturday, October 23, 2021

the most boring day of my life since I stopped attending summer camp

It wasn't just that it was jury duty. Jury duty - by which I mean waiting in the courtroom as part of the jury pool; I've been called up for voir dire once or twice but have never actually served on a jury - is only moderately boring. What turned this into the transcendental was covid restrictions requiring half the seats in the courtroom to be empty.

This meant that the lower half of the jury pool, including me, had to be seated in an empty adjacent courtroom with a video and audio feed of the proceedings. The video was tiny and nearly useless, and the audio was frequently inaudible. Nevertheless we had to sit there and pretend to be paying attention to it for hours on end.

The only interest came from the automated instant transcription system, which struggled terribly. It had no more success hearing what was being said than we did, and was out of its depth when it could. The word "juror," which predictably appeared rather frequently in the proceedings, was not in its vocabulary, so we got frequent "German" and "Karen" and the occasional "jerk."

But the best moment came when the clerk called a new juror candidate by name. As best as I could hear, his name was Stephen Kirwan or something like that, but it came out in the transcript as "Stephen King Kong."

Everybody in the courtroom laughed, the only moment all day when we could be said to be enjoying ourselves, but I suddenly remembered my sf-con costuming friends who've made a gimmick out of comic mashup costumes like Will Scarlett O'Hara or Red Sonja Henie or Salvador Dali Lama. This would be a good one for their list, so I've passed it on.

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