April 11, 2002
Technical Truth

"So how was jury duty?" asks my boss.

I'm sitting at the front desk with my first cup of Peet's Italian Roast, sorting through the overflowing contents of my *In Box.* (Amazing. I take one day off from work, and my *In Box* just sort of spontaneously refills, all by itself. Too bad my checking account doesn't behave the same way.)

For a moment I consider being evasive. Oh, you know how it is, I could say to JoAnne. Just one of those pain-in-the-butt things you've got to do as a good responsible citizen, blah blah blah. But that would be misleading. That would make it sound like I actually WENT to jury duty yesterday, instead of sitting around the apartment in my Happy Pants all day, eating nachos and listening to old Klaatu records.

I'm not sure I would be comfortable misleading her like that, frankly.

I consider tiptoeing around the truth, ever-so-slightly. Mostly I just sat around and read magazines all day , I could say. It sounds like it could be true, even if it isn't completely.  (I only read magazines for part of the day yesterday. Then I took a nap.) Plus it leaves me wide open to further interrogation. If, for instance, she were to ask me which courthouse I had to report to, I would draw a blank  ... and the next thing I know, I would probably be admitting that I spent the day organizing my underwear drawer, downloading Bay City Rollers MP3 files off the Internet and cooking Mexican Chicken Pizza for dinner.

I'm not sure how that would go over, frankly.

I even, in a moment of abject lunacy, consider telling her the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me god. I would admit to her that my juror group number was never drawn -- that I called the courthouse numerous times, beginning the night before I was scheduled to serve, and that by midafternoon yesterday my group had been dismissed altogether. I never even had to report to the courthouse. But telling her all of this -- that I accidentally wound up with one long, delicious, unexpected Alone Day, just when I needed one most -- would be stoopid. Things are nuts around The Dirt Company this week, in preparation for next week's thrilling three-day Mold Seminar. Everybody is cranky and on edge, trying to get ready for it. Does she really need to hear that I got to sleep an extra couple of hours yesterday morning, and then enjoyed a long, drooling afternoon nap, on top of that? ... or that the only phone call I had to answer was David, calling at 5 p.m. to say he was running late? ... or that I never even bothered with shoes, Maybelline, fax toner cartridges OR uncomfortable undergarments, the entire day?

As a sensitive and caring Administrative Ass, I want to spare her that kind of pain.

So instead I go for the technicality -- the teeny-tiny molecule of relevant fact that lies somewhere between the varnished and the unvarnished truths. 

"I was dismissed at 2 p.m.," I say, with a shrug. 

And I leave it at that.

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