I had jury duty in February of 2000. It wasn't very exciting, because it was just one day of sitting in a large room with a bunch of people who either a) couldn't get out of it, or b) people who had nothing else to do. I suppose that there may have been c) people who could have gotten out of it but were genuinely interested in being on a jury in order to fulfill his or her duty as an American citizen, which is what I was actually there for. But I doubt that there were very many of us, so I'll just say that there was just a) and b) there in the room with me.
What was my point here? Oh, yeah, it was about what I did while sitting in that room. There were all sorts of magazines, if one defines "all sorts" as "magazines for housewives" and "magazines for teenaged girls who want to look prettier than they are". And there was the big-screen TV, which I actually was sitting very far away from but could still hear the soap operas as though I was wearing headphones. Actually, headphones would have been a good idea, even if they were connected to nothing but the inside of my empty pants pocket, because good lord, could you turn up "The Young and the One Life to Days of our Hospital" any louder?
By noon, I was practically begging to be called to be on a jury, even if it was The Case of the Missing Bowling Shoes, just so I could get out of that dungeon.
Mercifully, they called out Lunch Break and told us that we had either an hour-and-a-half or an hour-and-45-minutes respite. Not that I was doing any work in the first place, unless you count fighting off insanity as work. (Some don't; I do.) So I got the brilliant idea that I would go up the street to the library, check out a book, and spend the rest of the day escaping into a volume of engaging fiction.
I actually checked out three books; I don't remember any of the titles. After lunch, I began one book, and kept reading it until we were released for the day (and from jury duty entirely). I took the books home and immediately lost them. Their due dates were three weeks afterward - I finally found them three months
later. Not wanting to be scolded for returning late books (yes, I did see the library policeman episode of "Seinfeld"), I discreetly deposited them into the night drop box on the back side of the library building.
I have always heard that library late fees can be spendy, if the materials have been out for a long time. This is why I never inquired as to what my fees were. Furthermore, I have never checked out a book from the Multnomah County Library since that day, although I have wanted to.
Last Election Day, when I dropped off my mail-in ballot at the Clackamas Town Center branch of the Clackamas County Library, I went inside and requested a new card (it's black, with a gold drawing of a lion on it; I call it my "liger" card) for that county's system. I was hoping that they wouldn't check my history with any other counties before issuing me the card, and they didn't.
But I still wonder what I owe to the Muntnomah County Library system. Maybe when I get the winning Powerball numbers, I'll have the courage to go in and find out.