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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. I worried about jury duty just before Xmas (I was called, but not picked). I had a weird similar episode on a small plane about 9 months ago. I was in the first seat of one of those little propeller ones and the flight attendant, who was possibly as tall as Margene, but um… beefier… and female asked if I got those needles through security. I told her yes. She looks at me and says in her best Bahston accent “It’s okay. I’m pretty sure I can take you down if I need it.” I was more than “pretty sure” she could too, so I smiled nicely and said there’d be no need. And I even put them away when she asked me to for the descent. Even though I feel sure I didn’t look a bit threatening.

  2. I always wonder what damage they think we can do with the little tips on circular needles that someone else couldn’t do with any ol’ ink pen? I had a passenger on a plane screech at at the top of her lungs to me when I pulled a sock-in-progress out, wondering how I got that through security.

  3. Maybe BSG was envious because she couldn’t knit? Some people! Glad you got your knitting back AND flipped her off (even if was in you coat pocket).
    I brought a sock in progress with me for an appointment at the Social Security office and almost didn’t make thru the security gate there. I guess I didn’t look crazed and I was using circs.

  4. Oh, I love this story and am going to treasure it and recall it fondly every time I get weird looks or remarks while out knitting in public!

  5. Oh Carole! That is the best story! I’m so glad you triumphed over the B-security guard! Yeah for Carole the knitter!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Good for you!

    I had my knitting confiscated at court a few weeks ago – but then, I was at a hearing for child support and I very well could have used the needles as a weapon by the time I was done dealing with my ex all day. ;o)

  7. Ugh. Sometimes I think security people let their ‘power’ go to their head. A few months ago for work, I was supposed to meet someone at a local federal building. Of course, no one thought to tell the marshal at the door (or me) that the person who I was supposed to be meeting was changed and the jerk just laughed and said – “Oh he never gets here before 9”. And did his best to make me feel like an incompetent idiot. The custodian – who actually knew what was going on – was better mannered!

  8. That is just way too funny! I’m glad you got your knitting. I would whimper and panic without my knitting for 4 hours.

  9. OK, maybe this is stretching the point, but your story reminded me a little of the “conspiracy” against breastfeeders. I’ll admit that it’s been a while (My last baby is going to high school next year.) , but I remember being shocked by how many people thought you should have to hide in the bathrrom stall to breastfeed your baby. Hey world, it’s a GOOD thing, quit with the harrassment. Knitters sometimes get the same treatment. Either your quaint and old-fashioned for doing it ro an annoyance.

    Europeans knit everywhere. I haven’t been stopped at the airport for a while, but I always get uptight about it. I did have to put my knitting in my checked luggage a fe years ago. I asked if they wanted me to get rid of my ball point pens too…they just sighed.

  10. I’m so glad you got to take it in with you. I just got called for duty, and I asked the woman on the phone if I could bring my knitting. She said yes, so I hope she’s there that day. I don’t know how to be patient without my knitting.

  11. I guess it pays to be a persistently squeaky wheel. Good for you. Love the flipping of the bird from the depths of your coat pocket! Did you simultaneously give the f-u smile to go along with it?

  12. WTF! We in Vermont can not under any circumstances bring our knitting in court. We can bring crochet but no knitting. I tried the whole airplane reasoning too. I might just try to kill someone with a knitting needle. It will probably be the guard!

  13. > What am I going to do? Give someone a splinter?

    This is a wonderful line. I’m going to borrow it, if you don’t mind. I’m glad there was a happy ending, since I too would go stark raving bonkers stuck in a room all day without the knitting.

  14. I had a similar incident happen with a crochet project. I was making some crocheted lace and the male guard wanted to take the hook because he couldn’t figure out what it was for. I was lucky there was a female guard there as well and she says, “It’s just a crochet hook for making that lace that is in the bag.” She silently mouthed “you dummy”!!! Then she asked about the project and took my Weiss Snips to be returned when I left.

  15. This is so funny because I have to serve tomorrow and was wondering if I could bring my knitting or not. I’m going to try it but don’t want to bring anything too nice now, in case it gets confiscated and they can’t find it when I leave.

  16. oh thats nothing. where I live there was a big brouhaha with a woman wearing an underwire bra through the scanners. The security boys made her remove it( no changing room so I guess she had to do it under her clothes) then they ran it through the scanner and one of the guards was tacky enough to say “its a girl” as it passed through.

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