Today I received a Summons for Jury Service. Twenty-six years have passed since I was last called for jury duty. And that time, twenty-six years ago, I had to decline because the summons came from Washington state and I had just moved to Connecticut.
Ever since, I’ve felt like I was missing out. On March 12, I’ll know for sure if I have perhaps romanticized jury duty. My husband and two sons have been summoned since we moved here and they report that it was unremarkable and even boring. What do they know? I’ll let you know. Ha. (It’s entirely possible I have watched too many 48 Hours episodes.)
So today, I took one of my sons to the DMV to get a photo identification card. He’s leaving on a jetplane to go to a choir conference in Utah and a couple of days ago, I suddenly realized that he doesn’t have a photo ID. (He has a driver’s permit which is not valid for identification purposes, apparently.) He’s flying out on Tuesday and so it was urgent.
I told him I’d be waiting in the car and sent him to stand in line. (At the DMV here in California, you can make appointments. However, a new law enables undocumented immigrants in California to get driver’s licenses. And a lot (50,000 since January 1) of them are super excited about getting a valid driver’s license. So when I tried to make an appointment, the next available slot was in April, two months ago. Six months ago, you could get an appointment within a week.)
Anyway, I took him late this afternoon, figuring the longest wait would be 90 minutes because the office closes at 5 PM. And sure enough, he got through the line and was successful, though unsuccessful at the same time because the card will be sent in the mail within the next two to four weeks. So, he still has no “acceptable identification” for next week. (But that’s a complicated story for another time.)
I have a point to this story.
So I’m waiting in the parking lot, reading blogs on my iPhone and looking at photos on Instagram and eavesdropping through my open windows on the people coming and going. I heard the distant cries of a baby and some man screaming at some woman who tattled to the security guard. Then I heard a man’s voice saying, “Your car is over there! Your car is over there!” and a more feeble voice saying, “No, no.”
I turned to catch a glimpse of the man with the feeble voice. He was an elderly man wearing a hat and a a big bandage on one of his thin legs. He tottered around the parking lot, clutching his key fob as if it were a dowsing rod. He held it straight out as he wandered the parking lot, first going one way, then another. I wondered if I should hop out of my car and help him listen for the tell-tale sound of a car beeping. Just as I’d convinced myself to help, a couple of younger men stopped and talked to the man and pointed him in yet another direction.
And then I didn’t see the elderly man again . . . until I saw him driving around the parking lot in his sedan.
Oh wait. Maybe I don’t have a point to this story except that I was kind of scared that the elderly man with his dowsing-rod-key-chain-fob who couldn’t find his car for ten minutes was now operating a motor vehicle.
When I told my kids about him, one of my sons said, “Well, just because he couldn’t find his car doesn’t mean he was a bad driver.”
And then I realized how many times I myself have wandered a parking lot, trying to find my car, waving my key fob like a magic wand, hoping to make my car appear.
I wonder if any young whippersnappers have watched me and wondered if they should help the lost old lady? You never know. You just never know.
(My so-called life has come down to this. I’m writing posts about the DMV and jury duty. I would like to apologize in advance, except that you’ve already read this. So I apologize after the fact.)