For the next two weeks, I am on call for jury duty for the U.S. District Court. What does this mean? Each night, I must call to see if I am needed. Today, I am not needed.
I have found this situation oddly stressful. The idea of actually being needed doesn't stress me. I'm a Civics geek: I vote in every election, I'm happy to be a juror, I amuse myself and try to stretch my brain by trying to remember all the amendments to the U.S. Constitution. I'm that kind of person.
I don't even mind that most jury duty that I've experienced has involved sitting around much of the day. I travel with books, and being stuck somewhere with no Internet access gives me that rare opportunity to lose myself in a book.
What I mind is not knowing what my day will look like. How much of my work should I try to get done in advance? I've taken no chances and gotten all the essential stuff done in advance. Of course, if I do have to serve, I'll probably realize how much I've overlooked. This week is a down time between quarters, and I hoped to get caught up with some things like endless copying and filing. My office has piles of paperwork that need to get put away. I can see the look in people's eyes when they come to my door; it's a look that says, "What has happened here?"
Still, today feels like a gift. I'll think about my publishing goals. What needs to be done before September ends? I'll make sure to get some manuscripts in the mail. I'm falling behind in that goal.
Last week, when I realized I might have jury duty, I said to myself, "I better get to the library so that I have something to read." I've done that; I was lucky to find some great novels (I'm currently reading Lionel Shriver's So Much for That, a terrifying look at U.S. health care). At the office today, I'll pick up some of those volumes of poetry in my to-read stack so that I can have poetry to read, should I be called to serve as juror. I've got a few bits of paperwork left to take care of (syllabus, new hire stuff), and then I'll be ready, should I be called to serve tomorrow.