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Jury Duty Or, Don’t Come Between a Knitter and Her Knitting

I realized the other day that I never told you about my experience at jury duty a few weeks ago. Being without much knitting to show these days, it seems like a good time for this little tale.

I got my jury summons a few months ago and was not thrilled with the whole idea but knew there was no way out of it so I resigned myself to going. Then, about 2 weeks before my date I received a letter telling me I was on “standby” status. All I had to do was call a phone number after 3 pm the day prior to my appointment and find out if I needed to report or not. I was hopeful that I wouldn’t have to go because I’ve never had to before but it wasn’t meant to be and when I called the number I heard a recording telling me that all jurors had to report.

When I got home from work that night I set about starting a sock to bring with me to the court house. I wanted something very basic and the preppy socks were born. I had no worries about not being allowed to bring my knitting in with me because I had been to this very same court house just a few weeks earlier to attend an open house at the law library and while my camera and my tiny scissors were confiscated my sock-in-progress was allowed. So, even though I anticipated a long day of hanging around I was happy at the prospect of lots of knitting time.

You can imagine my horror the next morning when I got to the court house and the security officer told me I’d have to leave my knitting behind. I stared blankly at her for a few minutes and then we had a conversation that went like this:

Carole, the Innocent Knitter: What do you mean I can’t bring my knitting inside? I’ve got jury duty and that’s how I’m going to pass the time.
Bitchy Security Guard: Nope. You can’t bring it. It’s against the rules.
Carole, the Innocent Knitter: But I was here a few weeks ago and brought my knitting in with me.
Bitchy Security Guard: A few weeks ago? Why were you here?
Carole, the Innocent Knitter: I’m a librarian and I was here for the law library open house. I specifically asked the (nice, friendly) Security Guard at the time if my knitting was okay and he said it was fine.
Bitchy Security Guard: Well, he was wrong. It’s not allowed.
Carole, the Innocent Knitter: But you can bring them on a plane!
Bitchy Security Guard: Planes are different. You are dealing with criminals here.
Carole, the Innocent Knitter: But I’m not a criminal, I’m just here to do my civic duty. (Self righteous indignation setting in)
Bitchy Security Guard: Knitting needles could be used as a weapon so you can’t bring them in.
Carole, the Innocent Knitter: A weapon? What am I going to do? Give someone a splinter? Did you see these needles? They are teeny tiny pieces of bamboo. (I was losing it a bit at this point. Panic over the prospect of hours and hours with no knitting was beginning to set in.)
Bitchy Security Guard: Ma’am, you’ll have to move along now. Leave the knitting here and I’ll call upstairs and ask the woman in charge of the jury room if you can have your knitting. I’ll bring it up to you if it’s allowed.
Carole, the Innocent Knitter: Yeah, fine. Whatever.

So I went upstairs and stood in another line to be checked into the jury pool. The woman in charge up there was friendly and I had a pretty good feeling that the Bitchy Security Guard from downstairs wasn’t about to ask about my knitting so I spoke up.

Carole, the Innocent Knitter: I brought some knitting with me and the Security Guard (yes, I left off the part about her being bitchy) downstairs told me I couldn’t bring it up here.
Friendly Woman In Charge of Jury Room: What!?! (shaking head) I don’t know what’s wrong with those people down there. We go through this all the time. Of course you can have your knitting. Go on back down and get it.
Carole, the Innocent Knitter: Oh, thank you, thank you so much! I’ll be right back.

Downstairs, back at the security check point:
Carole, the Innocent Knitter: Excuse me? The lady upstairs told me to come back down and tell you to GIVE me my knitting. (I was trying to be calm but I was definitely gloating)
Bitchy Security Guard: Oh. Of course. Here you go.

And I headed back upstairs and spent the next 4 hours knitting on my sock and waiting for something to happen. Nothing did. We were all sent home without serving.

And when I walked back by the Bitchy Security Guard on my way out I showed her how much knitting I had done while waiting. Then I flipped her off. Inside my coat pocket, of course.

This Post Has 78 Comments

  1. Same thing happened to me! Same conversation. Well, except for the splinters. heh heh – love that part. I ultimately got to take my knitting into the jury room too.

  2. Glad you got your knitting back! Isn’t it amazing that even now, our security people aren’t on the same page? I had jury duty shortly after 9.11 – they let me bring in knitting AND scissors, because they were chatting amongst themselves and let my bag go through the xray machine without looking at it. Once in the jury waiting room I sat for 6 hours knitting, to the great horror of the 3 women behind me, who whispered (loudly and repeatedly) about how I shouldn’t have been allowed to have “weapons” and that they must watch me carefully for any “homicidal tendencies”. I didn’t have them before I sat down, ladies, but once you got on my LAST NERVE…

  3. You have no idea how much empathy I felt at the prospect of you sitting there all day with no knitting! It was a huge relief when I read on that you were able to get it back.
    Um, do you think I have a problem?
    I have flipped “Bitchy Security Gaurd” off all the way from NJ.

  4. Ok my eyes about popped out when you said that you flipped off the guard. I laughed out loud when I read that it was only under your coat. Hilarious story, but I am sure complete agrevating to you.

  5. Having no knitting and waiting for four hours would drive me absolutely bonkers. I wasn’t a knitter during my last jury duty service so I wrote out my Christmas cards. Not as fun as knitting! 🙂

  6. Too funny! I had to go to the courthouse a couple of weeks ago and could not bring in my knitting – well, actually, the guard told me to take it off the needles and just give those to him. Sure bub. So I took it out to the car and came back in – he didn’t bother looking in my purse, and I had a pocket knife in it that I had forgotten about. Go figure.

  7. I would have spent the time knitting BSG a glove with just that one finger. You’re a saint – and a good citizen for doing your duty!

  8. Naaah….Na…Naaah…Na…Na!! I’d love it if you’d said…Thanxs Bitch! I’m sure you thought it!
    I’m SO glad you won a battle for ALL Knitters in the world!

  9. I do that patented move where I push up my glasses with my middle finger instead of in the coat pocket. It might be a little more satisfying. :p

    You are too funny. And cripes, if they let you bring knitting into the courthouse in Roxbury, where I had jury duty, they should anywhere!

  10. I couldn’t take my knitting to jury duty, so I brought a book to read. You know how hard it is to read in a group of noisy, bored people?? Wish I could have had my knitting that week. Lucky you.

  11. A co-worker of mine is in the selection pool this week, and where I live you report in every day for a week to be available for selection. She had a water bottle confiscated at the door on Tuesday, which doesn’t bode well for my plans for a relaxed knitting marathon if called for jury duty myself. I wonder how they feel about spindles?

  12. Whew! I’m glad that had a happy ending. “She wasn’t a criminal when she arrived at the courthouse, but after being deprived of her knitting for 8 hours…”

  13. I have a big jury duty at the District court coming up and all the packets and instructions they send me say “No Knitting or Crocheting allowed”. So I’m planning on bringing a book. They also sent a letter to my employer telling him to expect me to be absent for 2 months and to find a temp worker to fill in for me if necessary. I sure hope they’re wrong about that. No way in hell am I going 2 months without pay.

  14. You flipped somebody off? Somehow you doing that never crossed my mind…Good for you!!! It’s just the jackasses at the airport security places – just cause they got some stupid little tin badge attached to their jacket – they think they can be rude and nasty to us “common” folk! Awww…they are Gods only in their own eyes!!!

    Glad you got to take your knitting – they wouldn’t let us take it in FL…we were lucky we could take a book.

  15. Ha ha ha – good for you. I had Jury Duty last year and ending up serving for a week. I can’t imagine what I would have done without my knitting. I did deliberately bring something on circulars, but the security guard only took it out the bag every morning, gave it a curious look, and usually seemed to decide I wasn’t going to strangle anyone with it.

  16. Thanks for the good laugh….I know it must have been so frustrating but the retelling of it is very humourous.

    At least you didn’t tell her it might be your civic duty to shove those wooden needles where the sun doesn’t shine…might drive home the point, so to speak!

  17. Good for you. I only wish I had known how o knit when I got called many years ago. I actually wound up on the jury too. Talk about boredom! Sitting in a room with a bunch of people who’d rather be anywhere else. Ugh!

  18. I brought my knitting last time I had jury duty, and it’s the only way I didn’t hurt someone. I just can’t imagine sitting in one of those uncomfortable chairs for 4 hours with nothing to do. Most of the people there brought at most a newspaper. What were they thinking? I’d poke my eyes out after an hour of that.

  19. I’m so glad you conquered the bitchy security guard. No knitting during jury duty!? That’s unconstitutional. My husband and I do all of our road flipping off below the windows after one crazy maniac chased us after a flip off incident. (He totally deserved the flip off, BTW.) Best to keep it in your pocket.

  20. I went in for a collections (!) case for the office…I was not only not allowed to bring my sock, I was told they could not be responsible for it’s safety (excuse me, they have guns, right?) and they’d have to trash it (MY STR? You wanna bet?). I left the building and took it back to my car.

    Thankfully, I was in the collections case for very limited time, but I was still ticked off.

    Good for you!

  21. I think every one of us has a BSG story. While most security people I’ve run into are just trying to get through the day like the rest of us, a few let petty power go to their heads.

    I had jury duty last summer; I played the Taz card to get myself transferred from Cambridge to Concord, where I had no trouble getting through and along with three other people knitted peacefully until we were all told to go home. Actually we had to sit through a little pep talk from one of the judges explaining why they hadn’t just wasted our time, *then* we could go home.

  22. That’s my Carole!

    I did the phone-in thing last fall, but, thankfully, did not have to report in. The paperwork they sent me said I could bring plastic needles, not metal. I’m so glad I didn’t have to call and ask about wood.

  23. It’s really a good thing that you asked the nice lady, because I’m sure that the BSG would *never* have asked anyone if you could have your knitting. Stupid BSG.

    Did I tell you how, when I was flying to NY for Rhinebeck, the security guard lady almost didn’t let me bring along my niddy noddy? Let me bring my big a** scissors (which I had totally forgotten to take out of my spinning bag) but was not going to let me take my niddy noddy. Then, when I finally took it apart and (this is no joke) she told me that it was okay to take.

    shakes head.

  24. I had the same issue at jury duty! Except I knew ahead of time. (I brought plastic sewing needles.) When I wrote to say that this was ridiculous, they said they were sure I’d understand that “in our post-9-11 world” they had more restrictions. I replied that there were still no reports of anyone crashing a jury room into another building, armed with knitting needles or not.

    This was about the same time that several people were shot in court because a bailiff was carrying a gun while escorting a prisoner (big no-no). Maybe if a bystander had been armed with knitting needles, fewer lives would have been lost.

  25. how funny! good for you getting around that BSG. security these days is ridiculous (more of a panacea than anything) and i’m sure they still miss the people who actually have weapons.

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