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2001-06-27 - 11:56 a.m.

What I want to remember:

Saturday night, after the American Analog Set at the Mercury (droning music that I almost paid attention to, although it was more fun to people watch, and avoid the gazes of those that I did not want to see), the real show began. On the way back to the car, up the hill, Rob and I noticed two people had stopped on a corner to watch the lightning storm, and we stopped too. It was beautiful, and dramatic, and thrilling, and something that rarely happens here, jagged flashes of lightning, and sometimes the whole sky would light up. It wasn’t hot, for once, and we were soon joined by Grant and Phyllis, who seem to be everywhere I am these days. Or maybe I’m everywhere they are.

I think it must rain more in Georgia, or it felt like it. My mother (usually with a wine spritzer in hand) used to make us all go out on the porch and watch the storms come in, even though the porch was small. Every time it rains now, I feel I have to be outside, to watch the clouds roll in, and feel the temperature change, and see how even the air around me has a heightened sense of urgency.

What I almost remember:

I was nervous beforehand, the prospect of giggly girls and male bashing and the Pussy Power Posse, composed of girls that I like individually, although I’ve been disdainful of the group, in my head anyway. Or maybe I was upset at being left out, at not wanting to be a member, but at least wanting to be invited. But it was nicer than I thought, and there was beer and cigarettes and more beer and food and conversations with people I want to know better, and new people I want to impress, and did you see how I did that? How I mentioned I ran a marathon and volunteered at the Film Society, almost in the same breath? It had been a long time since I did that, but I did it that night, and she was impressed, and I thought how beautiful all these women are, even the giggly ones, and am I supposed to be empowered, around all these women? when what I mostly am is attracted, to all of them, in some way, the long legs and the painted toes peeking out from shoes and the curve of the shoulders and the arch of the necks and am I saying too much now letting the alcohol speak for me trying too too hard to impress? Why am I here? Would I still have been invited if Gary and I were dating? Do they know my best friends are male? I’ll just have another drink, there’s still an unopened 12-pack of Tecate in the fridge, and I brought a six-pack, so I should at least drink what I brought, right? Right? Or maybe I’ll have another cigarette, but dinner’s ready now, food I would never make myself, but so so good, and maybe now I’ll just lie on the floor, because it’s hardwood and cool, surrounded by these intelligent women, only now the conversation begins to degenerate a little bit (except for Carol Maulie, who is wittier in public than she ever is with me in private, I did not know that about her), but maybe it’s the alcohol, or maybe it’s the fact that Jessica has brought out her roommate’s vibrator, and it’s being passed around, and moving in ways no self-respecting penis ever could, and I’m lying on the floor half laughing and half embarrassed and half thinking that I should get myself one of those vibrators.

What I want to forget:

I had jury duty on Monday, so I didn’t have to get up for work. I slept late, and nursed my hangover, and puttered around my room til the house was empty, and lounged on the couch for a good hour of channel surfing. Around 10 am, just as I was about to get ready, the phone rang. It was the courthouse.

“Did you forget you had jury duty this morning?”

“Isn’t that at eleven o’clock?”

“No, it’s at ten o’clock.”

Shit, shit, shit.

“How fast can you get down here?”

I told her twenty minutes, threw on some clothes, hopped on my bicycle, and rode as fast as I could downtown, my heart racing, my mind picturing contempt of court charges, or a public reprimand from the judge. I went into the wrong building at first, and had to ask for directions twice, but finally found the right place. The courtroom door was closed, and 20 jurors were lined up outside, waiting for me.

“Are you Sara?” one of the jurors asked. “You’d better go inside. They’re waiting for you.”

I went inside, out of breath, wet linen drying to my skin, quaking with fear. It was a courtroom, I guess, but nothing like you’d see in Law and Order or LA Law. The floor was carpeted, and the low ceilings had flourescent lighting. There was a judge, and two lawyers, but no one seemed to notice me. I sat in the back row for a while, but didn’t know if I should make my presence known, or who I should talk to. “It’s Sara,” I wanted to say. “The one who fucked up. The one who thought she had this whole grown-up thing down, but I don’t. Not at all. I’m sorry.” I went back outside to wait with the jurors, expecting condemnation, or catcalls, or something. I fully deserved anything they might have said. But the bailiff came out then, made me sign something, and shepherded all the jurors inside, where we were told that all the cases had been settled out of court, and that we were free to leave. The judge – young, beautiful, long dark hair – did not reprimand me in public, and saved me by saying that there would have been a delay anyway, as the lawyers weren’t ready. I almost fell in love with her right there, because then she gave us a speech about how important the justice system is in this country, and I felt that she really believed that, believed all of that, believed in what she was doing. Then she let us go, and told us to enjoy our day off. I snuck into the bathroom on my way out, too embarrassed to face the jurors on the elevator, whom I should have apologized to, every single one, personally. It was all I could do not to break down in the bathroom, swallowing my tears, mortified and ashamed and at fault. I ended up on the elevator with two jurors anyway.

“Did you really think it was at eleven o’clock?”

“I am so so so sorry.”

The whole ordeal was over by 11:30, when I got home, wet and tired and still hungover, and looking for someone to call, anyone, because even through my embarrassment, I still thought it made a good story.

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