Spring has come…

to Center City Philadelphia and I got to bask in it’s warm-ish rays today. This was a most unexpected gift, because I started the day with my annual dose of jury duty. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind jury duty. I like the idea of being part of the judicial process, playing out my role as citizen. I even think it would be kind of fun to be on a jury (except that I don’t want it to interfer with my busy little life, so it could quickly become not-so-fun).
I like jury duty because it is enforced sitting-around-with-nothing-to-do-but-read time. And that I love.
I also enjoy that I don’t have to talk to anyone if I don’t want to, but that I can also dip into the conversations of strangers without compunction, because we are all strangers in the jury room. Jury duty is also the very best place in the universe to experience a deeply diverse cross-section of the population. It makes me realize how vastly and divergently this city that I live in is populated.
Anyway, back to the books. Today I took “Little Children” by Tom Perrotta and “Autobiography of a Face” by Lucy Greeley, looking forward to reading them both over the course of that day. I’ve been trying to get through “Autobiography” for over a month. I don’t understand why it is taking me so long, it is a expertly crafted book. But I know how it ends (in the sense that I know that Lucy Greeley killed herself a few years back) and so I can’t bring myself to complete it. What’s so weird about that is that knowing the ending has *NEVER* stopped me before. I’m the queen of re-reading and re-re-reading (ask my mom, we were just talking today about how I read “The Boxcar Children” over 100 times during my childhood, I shit you not) books. I haven’t given up on “Autobiography” yet, I just haven’t figured out how to make my through it yet, though. But with this resistance towards “Autobiography” in play, of course I started with “Little Children” which was due back to the library today (you’ll all be happy to hear that I read the whole thing today and got it back to the library without incident). It was a good book. I don’t necessarily think it was a great one. I guess it falls into the genre of contemporary fiction, which to me means that it isn’t always happy and things don’t always work out for the best. It had been getting really great reviews, so I’m glad to have read it to find out what all the fuss was about (but I’m the girl who didn’t like the movie Sideways, so my opinion isn’t always the mainstream one. Okay, I saw Sideways with my ex-boyfriend, which may have also colored the experience a bit. But I digress like crazy).
Anyway, so there I am, sitting in a relatively comfy chair in the juror room, with my book and my iPod, waiting for my name to be called, so that I’ll get to line up in two lines with a bunch of other adults, as we regress back to elementary school group behavior, when the jury commission gets up and says, “Well, this never happens.” What never happens that happened today was that five judges cancelled cases. So they only needed about half the jurors that were called. So, being that I am an incredibly fortunate girl, I was one of the ones who was given a pass to leave at 11:30 in the morning. In the time it takes to experience a refreshing sneeze, I was on my way, out into the sunny, warm-ish city, with no commitments and no work. Hot dog!
It’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to walk around Center City during a work day. When I worked at AACR, I was down around Independence Hall every day and ALWAYS made a point of getting out of the office, but it’s been almost two years since I left that job, and my scenery has changed. Walking the same blocks today as I did while I worked that miserable job, I realized something pretty important. Even on the worse day of my current job, it is never as bad as it was every day of that last job. AACR, my first job out of college, was a prolonged experience in agony that was made worse by the fact that it was a family friend who recruited and hired me, fresh out of college as I was.
So, I may not love my job, but my sense of appreciation for where I am and where I no longer am has been refreshed. And I am grateful for that!

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