This week I was on call for Jury Duty, and on Wednesday I had to go down to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in the heart of downtown Los Angeles to serve. I had been called once before but not to this courthouse. This was an entirely different experience than the first time. There were several hundred people in the room, the woman in charge was a movie unto herself, and a judge came in and did a fifteen minute inspirational speech about how crucially important it is to serve on a jury and that our time was not in vain, the Constitution, etc. It was pretty cool. After a few hours, the entire room was called to the largest courtroom for what turned out to be juror selection for a HUGE, very serious, very upsetting and long (30 days +) trial that there was NO WAY I would be qualified to serve on. We were each called in individually to the Judge's chambers and met privately with the Judge and the lawyers for both sides. I told my story and they dismissed me back to the jury room. I was hugely relieved, not only because my employer doesn't cover jury duty, but because of the subject matter.
Lunch was the best part, because we got an hour and a half to savor downtown. I walked everywhere. I started at the Music Center and snuck into the Ahmanson and Dorothy Chandler for a bit, then made my way to MOCA. They were closed except to school tours, so I explored their magical gift shop and then walked down Angel's Flight and through the wonder that is Grand Central Market. I then stopped at a pharmacy that sold untold Mexican Catholic spells and candles and imported pharmaceuticals. I then spent the rest of the time wandering the Disney Concert Hall and eating an organically delicious sandwich from OtoGo. Not bad!
At the end of the day, when we were dismissed for the year, I got to take the subway home. It was quiet, clean, smooth, and fast, and I was able to walk home through my neighborhood, listening to music in my iPod and savoring the local shops instead of whizzing past them in my car. I genuinely miss this way of commuting and wish this dream map was a reality, because I'd use it every day.