Thursday, April 30, 2009


This juror nightmare is over. I am too drained to even be happy about it as it has been mentally challenging in a completely new and alien way for me and many of the others I spoke to during these two weeks. It was not just the continuous, onerous, draining sitting around and waiting, wondering when, or indeed if, one's presence was required in court, but the thick air of the court itself, where crimes are not any longer hyper-realities far removed from one's own life, specks of over-exciting interest in Hollywood movies that drag, or 'things' that happen on BBC News Online.

Law and order are not romanticised to the point of fake in a real court, there is no feisty young barrister that spits: 'COLONEL JESSEP, DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED?!', no defendant whose countenance cuts the air with a mix of quiet dignity and proud assurance, no electrifying moment of truth when the glass ceiling shatters and relief descends upon all as if Heaven-sent, no Denzel Washington sitting in a corner with a string of medals on his lapel. No, there is none of that.

There is a mother that recognises the signs of high cocaine intoxication because 'that's life, that's the way it is', a son whose drink-and-drug problems have been known since the age of eleven and plentiful low-lives that lie under oath. I don't know about you but, as worldly as I like to think myself, I couldn't tell whether one has snorted cocaine or Tabasco or lavender talcum powder; my life experience does not encompass 'the way it is' to that extent. I don't even know what that means.

I do know, however, that the glamourised drinking ads show a reality that does not exist. There are no impossibly beautiful, thin, charming, well-groomed, sparkly people who can down ten bottle of spirits a day and glide through life like witty dragonflies. There is none of that in a real court. There is just empty lunacy and the ghost of a squandered childhood that never was.
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