Friday, May 11, 2007

On Being Vulnerable...It'll Get You Hugs

Lately, I’ve been bopping around my life...happily. And after the past few months of the doldrums that have battened down my hatches for a cold winter’s nap – it was most welcome and refreshing. The pony tail swings now as opposed to a little constricted bun at the nape of the neck, y'know? Last Saturday, I even stopped into a neighborhood bar all by myself (there was a pull of a sound check and some guy with a guitar, gets me all the time) on my way home from watching the horses. After a few rounds of eye contact, I was striking up a conversation with a James Dean look-alike. Damn hot. I proceeded to share a few beers with him and then mysteriously disappeared into the night. Or maybe he didn't notice. He hasn't filed a Missed Connection yet.

So...happy with and by myself. Right?

But then something happened to slap my happy face into Fuck! This sucks! all over again. [Cue: Violins. Crickets. And an annoying harmonica. All in black and white.] This week was enough to remind me that I DO need that hug at the end of the day because hugging yourself is only fun when someone is watching you from behind.

This week I was selected to report for jury duty. And out of the 70-or so people reporting that day, I was actually selected with 6 other people to sit on a jury. We were hearing a drunk driving case.

I thought the odds were against me. Especially after I was questioned on being a law librarian and my training to that end. I explained my legal research training and general law librarian code of ethics (I left out the geekiness of that line) that does not in any way, shape, or form allow me to interpret the law. So: clueless. AND after I admitted to being rear-ended by a drunk driver when I was 15. I left out the severity of the accident and when questioned on this, I admitted that I could, in fact, remain impartial. (This proved to be true.) I also had to admit to driving under the influence at times. We all did.

Damn, I wish I would have fought harder for dismissal - the excuses were there for me. Because in the end, I – along with my fellow jurors – had to send some guy who made a really bad decision one night to get behind the wheel of his car to jail. For 10 days. It is two days later and THAT still sits with me.

We listened to this case for 2 days and we deliberated on it for 3-ish hours. I won't talk about the specifics of the case, because there were dynamics. It wasn't cut and dry, yet it was. The defense could have had a case but had no hard evidence to dispute the one piece of evidence that stood - which is the guy blew a .24, three times the legal limit. But there was no reason not to believe that result given all the evidence (of which there was none) and witnesses (of which there were none) that the defense presented. YET, it took me that long to get on board. I wanted to cut the guy a break. I wanted to bring it down to just a DUI. But in the end, I had to check the (bleeding) heart at the door – the compassion that believes in the general good of people, good being redeemable, and the ability to make mistakes and correct it and learn from it and give-a-guy-a-break philosophy. Looking at the issue objectively, resulted in a conviction. Objectively, there was no other way to rule.

Yeah, he was wrong. But it did not feel good. I was emotionally invested in that case. At the end of the day, I went home and sobbed into my pillow. I hated that. It felt hypocritical to say, yeah, I've been there dude, but nanny-nanny-boo-boo you got caught so go sit in the corner for 10 days and think about it. What high horse am I on? See? THAT doesn't sit right with me. [Disclaimer: I don't do that anymore. I, thankfully, live in walking proximity to watering holes, cabs, and metro and Mav is marrying our Designated Driver when locations take us yonder.]

I was emotionally-invested and, as such, I got emotionally-attached to one of the jurors. (Which I didn't even notice at the time.) He was cute but that is really besides the point. I didn't see Cute. I saw strength. He was smart (very) and he helped me, in his way, find where I needed to go with this. I guess I identified with him. He thought like me, but more rationally. He helped me wrap my mind around where it should have been. He had that kind of presence. Something I haven't seen since my dad. It was something I could buckle to. So somewhere between conflicted emotions, vulnerability, and being scared shitless, I approached Needy territory (or what felt like neediness). Something I never thought was "pretty." I would never show a guy - who didn't know me - THAT. I felt like I wasn't having a big girl moment. I should be confident! And sure! And tough! But in succumbing to something so innate to my being - some vulnerability - I saw what it could get me. Because as we were walking out of the courthouse, His Sweetness reached out to me and gave me a hug. And it wasn't a gratuitous hug. He reached for it, he meant it. He asked me if I was going to be alright. I said, I would be. He assured me that we did the right thing. I trust that.

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