Reflections on waiting outside a courtroom

In case [no pun intended] you were wondering, appearing in court is nowhere as glamorous or dramatic as you might think.  I thought for a fleeting moment that I would have the opportunity to fulfill a life-long fantasy to live out a Law and Order episode when a subpoena appeared at my apartment, but that dream was quickly diminished by a way-too-early morning and the growing fear of fumbling my words during the cross-examination.  So.  Scary.

Although I ended up worrying for no reason [something I do all too often], because I didn’t end up having to testify, here are some tips for a long wait outside the courtroom:

  1. Bring a book, or better yet two.
  2. Bring a laptop.  Smart phones are great, but answering work emails over and over on a small device does a number on your fingers.
  3. Bring headphones.  Not necessarily for yourself, but to block the sounds around you (loud music bleeding from other headphones, listeners singing along, crying babies, parents scolding children, etc.).
  4. Write a blog post, a letter, or that thank you note you have been procrastinating.  This is a GREAT way to knock out at least 30 minutes.
  5. Cancel ALL appointments that day.  Even if there is a glimmer of hope that you will be able to dash to a dentist appointment or make it back to the office, you won’t.

In terms of not getting to the office my day was “wasted,” but I did accomplish a few things I wouldn’t normally have been able to on a Monday morning while experiencing a side of the United States legal system.  Next time I hope I will be prepared to follow my own steps 1 – 5, or better yet, there will not be a next time.

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