I have too many things in my pockets.
Well, as mentioned I have the chocolate, but that’s not really the problem.
It’s the three double-A batteries I had locked off in the breast pocket I didn’t know about that were.
They were in there with the straight G-U-M toothbrush my dentist always gives me for some reason, despite the fact that he constantly tells me that electric toothbrushes are better for your teeth.
His downfall was that he told me I had “B+ teeth” which filled me with such exuberance, considering previous withering assessments, that I haven’t been back in 6 months, finally content with the relative health of my molars.
My downfall was that now I had a coat with pockets enough that I could put things in them and forget them.
This all came to a head this morning when it finally hit me that indeed, I would have to go to jury duty.
I will admit, this hadn’t been a dread, but a secret hope of mine from the time of a child.
As a reader of many novels and watcher of many movies, I was used to finding a narrative in what I saw and following it and it seemed to me in my nascent days that jury duty was the exercising of such mental capacities in real life.
“Don’t fuck this up. Just tell them you have a movie and if you don’t do it you won’t graduate.” My father advised me in his post-drink, pre-bed furor. “I don’t pay 200,00 dollars or whatever the fuck I do for you to not graduate because of fucking jury duty.”
It was an uncharacteristic chain of expletives for my father, but they weren’t unprompted. Perhaps because of my half-forgotten fascination, I had failed to fill out the early web forms that would have allowed me my “ONE POSTPONEMENT” signaled in big letters on the notice. Now, I would be at the whim of the clerks.
I did most things right though: I woke up early, brought the notice with me, brought reading materials and readied my best face of the kind, polite, inquisitve Feitel I could pull out of a hat for authority figures.
I just hadn’t banked on my coat.
The line was short when I went in to the court building but soon it piled on behind me.
“Everything but tissues.” The bored, balding court officer ordered me.
From my fleece, my jeans, my inner coat, my outer coat came the aforementioned batteries and toothbrush, phone, keys, wallet, headphones, a promotional DVD featuring the word PUMPED! on it, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, a promotional Entourage beer opener, a brownie, a crushes plastic sack containing the remnant of some saltines, the connector cable and plug for my phone, about 15 pages of my feature screenplay and of course, my bag of chocolates.
I’m probably missing somethings, but forgive me, for the sake of space and sanity.
And of course, I had to go through twice because the first time I didn’t know about the batteries.
Finally, the topping to the cake, after I got upstairs finally to my assigned courtroom prepared to wait to speak about why I couldn’t do jury duty, still 13 minutes early, I was told by the clerk to go to a different building if I wanted a deferment.
“Oh.” I said.
“Better hurry.” He replied.
And I turned around RIGHT quick with a spin move to feel the plastic-refilled-Formula-50-bottle I’d brought from home go flying out of my backpack literally SHATTERING on the floor as I did not know plastic could do as I tried to leave as quickly as possible.
“Uh, sorry.” I commented to the room of the overweight-and-elderly waiting for duty, as I hastily beat a retreat.
Surprisingly, after this everything was easy.
At the next building, with a little explanation, they let me put my coat through the security machine and I went right through.
I went to the juror’s department, on the ground level and without my saying a peep the clerk took a look at my form, without any wait, and asked me if I wanted to reschedule for July or August.
I told him, whatever you want, thank you and I was gone.
Actually, it was so unexpectedly nice that before I was gone, I took two steps out, turned around and went back and asked him if he wanted any chocolate.
He respectfully declined and I went home, a new-found-believer in the New York State legal system.
At home, I tend not to do anything.
The way I work, I need to be wound like a clock.
There needs to be tension in my life or else I don’t accomplish things.
Thus, my best days end up being either the days with class where I know I’m on a deadline for assignments and I have work to do and time to do it in, or else the days in which I’m recovering from the exhaustion of this previously.
But even then, my relaxation is structured with a set beginning and end; I’ll know that there’s a party at some point, someone to see, something fun to do. I know I’ll only be home for so long.
My place is comfortable and reflective of my personality. I have little to complain about here, especially given my sweet Tempur-Pedic mattress pad. But yet, I find myself with long swaths of time drowning, unable to do work. Having lived in a structured world from middle-school to high-school to college, I find myself unable to set my own pace, working best under the fear and anxiety of an imminent deadline or a social pressure.
When I’m at home though, doing nothing, with hours to go before I have to do anything, I sometimes feel the void swallow me as I languish on websites and internet news, feeling a creeping boredom and desperation; I should be working but I don’t want to, I don’t want to be nothing, but there seems no other option. Unmotivation breeds unmotivation.
And yet after a day of craziness, I sit down here at my computer and find my instinctively needing to blog. It fits in to my structured time, the confession, the creative aspect of it. It helps relieve pressure and functions at the same time as a constant self-setting deadline to update, to recreate.
I’m not sure if this is normal for the real world or a real person, or how a real person might behave. In this way, I’m kind of a sociopath, or at least un-understanding.
But I know what works for me for now: to be wound like a cog in a machine of my own devising, to stay tight so my life won’t fall apart.