Monday, May 17, 2010

Jury Duty

So today was kind of crazy. I was called for jury duty and leading up to this date, I was hoping it would be cancelled, but it wasn't. I was really nervous Sunday, because I didn't know how long the duty would last. I could manage one, maybe two days off. But if this trial went to weeks on end, I would be screwed. No work means no money. And that is not a good thing for me. But, I hoped for the best.

I woke up this morning and I had bad dreams about jury duty all night and I had a really bad feeling when I woke up. I told Amy I was dreaming that I was watching the trial of an old man who was murdered. My dream had me pretty freaked out. But I went on with my daily routine. Had my coffee, kissed the family and headed out for what the day might bring.

After arriving at the courthouse I was placed in a large room with approximately 100 people. We were cattle herded from room to room, up elevators, down stairs, into single file lines, rinse and repeat all day long. Once we were finally allowed in the courtroom, I was made aware what the trial was for. The trial was for a murder of a 61 year old woman, by the defendant her 47 year old boyfriend. At first this was all I was made aware of. The entire day was spent watching the attourneys cover their X's and O's. They would constantly repeat themselves, asking if we had been arrested? have we been victim of a crime? do we know anyone there? do we know anyone here? And with each answer the attourney would follow up with, "Does this outcome create animosity or influence your opinions in any way". This went on for hours. They would ask the same question different ways. And it was amazing how many people were more than willing to begin talking about all of their owns problems. "I was arrested for 3 DUI's, plus a domestic battery" "I was suspected for molestation" "I was arrested for assault" etc... All the while I stayed quiet and did my best to blend in. I didn't want to stand out in any way, so I did not get selected for this.

Eventually, the defending attourneys had their time and they were laying it on thick..."Do you feel as though the defendant is innocent until proven guilty?" "Do you believe in proof of innocence?" "Are you able to follow the courts written guidelines for judging a case" "Due to the fact that the burden of proof is on the state, the defendant will not be testifying. Is this ok with you?" etc... Everyone agreed that they were ok with all that being was said. And then something about the way this murderer sat there and acted so smug really began bother me. He was so calm and relaxed. He was closing his eyes almost as if he was bored. He was leaning back in his chair. Stretching out as if he was tanning at the beach. Drinking beverages like he was on vacation. I couldn't stop staring at this guy. He had this derlect look as if he could care less that he was on trial for murder. Or that the person murdered was his girlfriend. Or even care that the person murdered was someone that he knew and was close to at one point in time.

I began to boil inside. Constantly staring at this guys black eyes. I couldn't help but develop this rage inside of me. Knowing that someone like this is out there, walking the streets caused this hatred to fester. Then all of a sudden, my silence and attempt to blend went away. I raised my hand and stated that I disagree with what the defending attourney was saying. I explained that I understand the legal jargain, but I personally don't believe he is innocent until proven guilty. From where I am sitting, he is guilty until he proves his innocence. He is on trial for murder. I explained that if he is not willing to testify and defend himself, then that shows it's guilt. If I were wrongly accused of something, I would be chomping at the bit to explain my side of things. But instead, he was advised to say nothing. Their entire gameplan for this case was to plant the seed of doubt and hope for the best. After I explained my beliefs on the matter a few other people began to speak up and say they agreed with me. I don't think my response made the defending attourney very happy, but she thanked me for my honestly. And truly, from the get go, I couldn't get past the fact that this guy was a murdered and everyone in there knew it. I just didn't know the extent of it....yet.

A little while after our exchange, we were told to go back into the cattle line, wait downstairs and they would be with us in a bit. It was time to select their jury. While waiting in the jury room, I was very mad with this guy still and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get past it. I then began to google the names on my blackberry. I was able to find the article about this man and victim. The man was a 47 year old local. Dating a 61 year old local widow. One night she attempted breaking up with him. He broke into the dwelling with a screwdriver. After entering the dwelling, he stabbed the victim 22 times with the screwdriver. Then to top it all off. He proceeded to rob the victim and vandalize her dwelling. After reading this, I texted Amy and told her, I kind of want to be on this case now. Financially, this would not be in my best interest, but if I was selected it wasn't a big deal to me anymore. Moments later their selections were made and I wasn't one of them. I think my Guilty until proven Innocent statement may have got me bumped from this trial, but hopefully the point was driven home and this guy goes away for life. (I'd root for the death penalty, but in this trial it isn't being pursued.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trailer Trash

'You spend your whole life, looking for the adult you are. And you spend the rest of your life, looking for the child that you were.'

Starting a blog is odd, but I can definitely see how this could be pretty therapeutic. I have no clue why, maybe it was the rainy weekend, but somehow I started thinking about the contrast of my life. Not that I am old by any means now, but seeing my life change the way it has is really weird. I remember being young, sitting on my grandparents front porch in the summers and thinking to myself, "this is all I ever want". I didn't have a care in the world. All I knew was I was so happy and comfortable. Maybe safe, is the best word to describe the feeling. I had belief and faith. Then as I got older, things changed, people changed, people were lost and that safe feeling escaped me.

The more family members I lost, the more I tried to cling on to the ones I did have around me. Then I found family in friends and I was able to recreate that safe feeling to an extent. I was blessed to have people around me that welcomed me with open arms and never made me feel out of place. Even if I was socially inept, I was never made to feel that way. But, as time goes to show as I got older, things changed, friends began to go their separate ways. Which is only natural, but once again that safe feeling began to fade away.

As I got older and became a little longer in the tooth. The safe feeling was almost non-existent. I was out of town for work a majority of the time. I was new in my profession, so I didn't ask questions. I was told to go to Tallahassee, Clearwater, Miami, etc... and I did it. I had no other obligations, I just did as I was told. I had no emotional attachments or obligations, so I just went. Ironically enough the one time I did put my foot down on not wanting to go to Saint Louis, could have almost been the biggest mistake of my life. In the middle of my workaholic binge, my home was waiting for me all along in Saint Louis. I just had to go find it.

So, after packing up and heading to Saint Louis. I get to town late. I immediately hated everything about the place. I thought the people were rude. No one could drive. The pizza was awful. And my hotel sucked! Then to top it all off. The office I worked in, completed separated my company from their company that hired us. We may has well have been sequestered.

In the midst of all this misery, I was able to make some good friends. This definitely helped my transition to StL, but I think the biggest change of heart towards Saint Louis, was when I first saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Still trying to make friends and be funny, I turned to the guy next to me and said, "Well, there goes my future ex wife." He laughed, rolled his eyes and carried on with his work. But, from that moment on my main goal was to get to know this foxy lady, lol.

At a happy hour after work one night, I was finally able to break the ice and at least talk to her somewhat. I vividly remember the 'A' game that I put out there. It went something like this. "Hey, you wanna see me turn this straw into a beer bong?" Awesome. I know. And from that moment on, we became friends.

I remember being exhausted tired from working insane hours, but if people were going out that night and they said she was going to be there. I would drink as many red bulls as I could get my hands on and then hang out, just to be near this person. We would talk and laugh, and that would be it. We were actually becoming great friends.

Around New Years Eve, one of my best friends was getting married. So I left Saint Louis. I was gone for approximately 10 days, with no contact from the foxy lady, due to the fact that I was out of the country for the wedding. But, upon my return to StL I found out that the foxy lady/future ex wife, recently became single. And after extensive weeks of wooing, I was able to make the foxy lady....My foxy lady.

A lot of time has passed since she was deemed My foxy lady, but one thing that I have noticed is every day that I am with her. She makes me feel safe. We had our first baby Quinn, last October and my wife is what makes our house a Home. She makes our family work and she is the strongest woman I have ever seen. I love everything about her. I love the mother that she is to our daughter. I love the wife and best friend that she is to me. It's really strange that I found my home in a place that I didn't want to find it at all. But, now I would have it any other way. I will be celebrating my 2 year wedding anniversary this week and it has been amazing. She has made me love Saint Louis, but I am pretty sure I would love being any place as long as she is there with me. So in regards to my opening statement. I have spent my life trying to find the adult that I am, but I'll spend the rest of my life being the man that I should be for my family.