The clock in my head was going off: beep, beep, beep. The blaring sound got louder with every passing moment. I was late and the alarm wouldn’t stop until I got to my destination, my local county courthouse.
I wasn’t technically late yet. I was still a few minutes early, but I needed to find the nearest parking lot and the entrance to the courthouse. I had received a jury summons several weeks earlier and needed to be at the courthouse by 8 a.m.
I was in the vicinity, but I didn’t want to miss the lot and be forced to drive around the busy city block again. In my mind, I could see the big bold letters on the summons: “Jurors failing to report could be held in contempt of court, taken into custody, and/or fined”
Tick, tick, tick
I tapped impatiently on my steering wheel waiting for the red light I was stopped at to turn colors. “It’s green, go already buddy,” I yelled to the car in front of me. If the guy was standing directly in front of me, I wouldn’t dream of saying anything to him in a million years. My parents brought me up better than that, but since he was in his car, and I was in mine, I had no problem blurting out for him to go.
Finally the car in front of me moved and I drove half a block and turned into the parking garage. I quickly parked, grabbed a book to keep me busy during the day, and race-walked to the courthouse. It didn’t matter that the courthouse was a stone’s throw away, I was still going to be late.
Brring, brring, brring
As soon as I stepped through the courthouse, I was greeted by a phalanx of security officers and a lengthy line to go through the metal detector. One officer saw the smirk on my face and calmly explained that it was for everyone’s safety. I didn’t explain that my smirk wasn’t a commentary on the safety precautions, but my own sarcastic view on my prospects of being late.
One scan later and I was through the line. I took the elevator and was greeted with two clerks who took my information. A slew of people came in at the same time as me. We all waited a second or two and were calmly directed to another room to wait for jury registration to begin.
I sat down in my seat at exactly 7:55 a.m. I wasn’t late. I wasn’t too early. I was right on-time. As I looked around and watched other jurors still entering the room, my internal alarm clock finally clicked off.
Potential jurors kept coming in until 8:30 and even as late as 8:45. As each late-comer came through the door, I kept saying to myself that I would be going out of my mind if I was in their shoes.
Five minutes early is still late
There’s no way around it: I’m an idiot when it comes to time. I hate to be late. It drives me crazy. It can be something important like a graduation or getting to the airport for a security check or even something trivial like meeting up for lunch with a friend: I hate to be late. I’ll go to great lengths to be on time.
I have to be on time. And on time for me means being a few minutes before the expected start time. I wish I wasn’t built this way, but it’s just who I am.
Now if the rest of the world worked the same way!