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100 Days of Gladness, Day 2

Jury duty, evening routine, and yellow leaves

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Jury Duty

The mail came in and I was called to jury duty. I filled everything out, and sent it back. Weeks later, the actual summons came. I am one of those very few who are excited about jury duty. I wanted to be part of this process. Everyone was so grumpy and put out.

But think about it. Jury duty is where twelve random people decide what someone’s fate is. It’s an incredible responsibility. And I’m not naive. I know they pick us based on questions answered that the attorneys involved think will give them the best chances of winning. But still. I wanted to be part of it.

When I arrived for what I call the “culling,” there were about 250 of us. I wish I’d been savvy enough to take a photo of the crowd. Such a truly diverse crowd. Humans from all races, ethnicities, ages, sexes, sexual orientations, genders — you name it. We were a rich crowd.

As it happened, by the time they called my number, all the jurors had been chosen, and now it will be six years before I’m eligible again. But think about it. Ordinary citizens in our country are charged with coming up with a fair decision about what to do in the event of some possible crime. It’s kind of sobering. And amazing.

— — —

Evening Routine

Somehow I’ve snuck into this late night routine, and now I love it.

I hate to do dishes during the day. I mean, I will. But I don’t enjoy it. I want to have my day, then watch whatever shows I’m into (lately I've been re-watching Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom), and only after Elena goes to bed — having been herded there by our Yorkie, Ruby, who knows best for us — do I tackle the dishes.

But I do it in a very ritualistic way.

First, I put on my beats. Then I decide what podcast I’m going to listen to. Here are some of my absolute favorites:

  • The West Wing Weekly (Oh come on. I know it’s ancient, but it’s so so funny, and if you’re a “wingnut” like me, the back stories are delicious)

  • Death, Sex, and Money (Anna Sale! Don’t leave! The podcast is ending soon)

  • Radiolab (great team there, Latif Nasser is one of them)

  • Poetry Unbound (with Pádraig Ó Tuama)

  • Family Secrets (with Dani Shapiro)

  • On Being (with Krista Tippett)

  • The Moth

Anyway, I decide which I’m going to listen to. And then I just roll up my sleeves and lose myself in the podcast, and my kitchen gets so clean.

The other day, it was 11:30 when I pulled myself away from the TV, and I thought — ugh. I’m too tired to do this now. But my little Jiminy Cricket whispered, “You said you’d do it. You told Elena you’d do it. Be your word.” And I did. As I got going, the energy came back in — just enough for me to get the job done really well. Plus I got to laugh at the particular episode I was listening to. The time went like lightning.

— — —

Yellow leaves

And then there are times when you just have to stop in your tracks and let color have its way with your eyes. Walking Ruby, we came upong the yellow leaves shown above. Not gonna mar that experience with words. But look at what the world gave me for free.

Blessings to all. May you be happy. In the moment. And may you know it, too.


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