I am happy to be in my fourth SOL March challenge, but I have been struggling with what to write today.  I think the reason is simple- I am not in my regular life right now. I am in my fourth of five weeks of Grand Jury Duty.  I leave sub plans by the week and instead of walking to school, I take the subway to our jury room.  We 23 jurors sit there from 9-5, hearing witnesses and seeing evidence in felony cases.  We are Grand Jury 1, and our “specialty” is domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.  We also hear murder, theft, and more.

I would love to write about this.  It is a real education.  I jot down my new vocabulary: trap house, K-2, cellie, snake.  But I have two big problems.  One, I am sworn to secrecy.  And so I could write fiction, but problem number two is that I am no James Patterson or Walter Moseley, and the crime novel is never going to be my genre.

So I might write around it, we will see.  It is absorbing and  also distressing.  You know how we urge children to make good choices?  That’s real- I am witness to where a series of bad choices can lead.  My heart feels heavy for these individuals who were children (and those that still are) and for all the hurt in their world.  And I also realize that they are not just characters, they are my neighbors, in my home city.  They went to (or go to) schools where my friends teach, perhaps where I teach.

But tonight on the subway ride home I saw an old serious looking Grandpa sitting with a little slip of a girl all in pink, drowsy head in his lap.  He had luggage and she her little backpack- it looked to me as if they arrived from the airport where this subway line services at its far end.  She perked up and rested her had on his leg, he tussled her hair.

And walking down the sidewalk a few minutes later I saw what looked like a woman returning home from her workday on a scooter- I thought at first it was the kind you ride when you have a torn achilles.  But I saw that it wasn’t – she had one foot flat on the scooter and the other pushing away rhythmically along the sidewalk on a kid’s razor scooter.  And there was a third leg, pushing off to the other side.  A third leg with white stockings and blue butterflies on them.  Mother and child returning from work and day care together.

These are my slices of life for today.

7 thoughts on “Disconnect

  1. The image of the grandpa and the little girl made my heart melt. Maybe you could write about the new vocabulary you’ve learned. I bet you are getting quite a legal education!


  2. Your city people vignettes are like poems. They are small moment, interpretations and noticings that bring light and life to our commuting ways. I love the way you wrote about them, More please!


  3. Your sharp observation skills at work again! The choices we make…the pairs traveling through the city. So many stories whirling in your head. Try to rest well tonight. Just one more week to go and then you’ll have your routine back.


  4. I love that you were able to find slices to write about — and that you even wrote a slice about your jury duty … without breaking any rules.
    Sounds like an intense time! I had no idea that you could be on jury duty that long for multiple cases… Learn something new every day !


  5. Hi Fran! So happy to read your writing again. You inspire! I, too, would have a very heavy heart with all of those cases, but isn’t it wonderful that as human beings we can hold joy and sadness at the same time?


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