"But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government."
- James Madison, Federalist No. 10
I’m on a jury in County Superior Court, on a civil case involving a dispute between a homeowner, an insurance company, and a construction company. It’s been going all month and yesterday we were told by the judge that the parties estimate they will be done presenting their various cases early in the second week of March. Then the judge has a day or two to give us instructions. Then we can begin deliberation. I am instructed not to discuss the case with anyone, but I don’t think I’m violating that admonition by confessing that I’m tired at the end of the day.
I live barely 2 miles from the courthouse, making it possible for me to go home for our 1.5 hour lunch break. We start at 9 and end at 4:30, so it’s not exactly a long day, and we go 4 days a week at the most. But for a retiree who has given up mental work for gardening, I’m finding the effort of focusing, paying attention, making notes on testimony I think is important, and sitting in a comfortable chair for up to 3 hours at a time is surprisingly hard work. I’m used to staying up late and sleeping til 9:00. This is cramping my lifestyle, giving me less time with my cat on my lap (which is as good as any blood pressure medication you’ve ever had). It’s making me miss important Olympic coverage like curling (kidding: has there ever been a more boring sport?) not to mention The Daily Show, and making me cranky in the mornings. Make that crankier.
It’s also preventing me from blogging, keeping up with e-mail, wasting time surfing the web in search of signs of intelligent life, going to the veggie garden weekly, and generally goofing off. The good news is that at $15 a day, I’ll soon be wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.
I suppose there is also an unintended benefit of “working” again in that it drains my energy to a sufficient degree that I’m too tired to yell back at the hypocritical politicians on the evening news. I don’t have the energy to tell members of Congress to stop acting like ten-year-old boys on an unsupervised school playground and do their damn jobs. (BTW, preventing the other boys from doing their jobs isn’t their job.) Which I suppose is just as well, since my rants never seem to change things anyway. You guys will just have to get health insurance legislation passed without me.