Monday, June 10, 2013

All Rise

I was recently summoned for jury duty, and unlike most folks, I would love to be selected. But not for some boring civil insurance dispute. I want a capital murder, home invasion, or drug-bust-gone-wrong. I am a self-professed crime junkie. Cold Case Files, Forensic Files, and 48 Hours are what I call must-see-TV. I can't help it. They got me. So I reported to the courthouse, was buzzed through the metal-detector, and herded to the jury handlers. The jury holding area was downstairs in the dungeon painted that industrial-mint green color that was all the rage in correctional institutions in the 1970"s. It was also the color of the bathrooms in my grade school, now that I think about it. We were shown a riveting video on what to expect, and how important juries are to our judicial system. After filing into the courtroom, the judge reiterated all of the information from the video, introduced the lawyers, accused, and gave a list of the witnesses to be called in the case. You could hear several members sigh in relief as each name was read, as it meant they would be excused from the pool of candidates. I gave a silent harumph because it meant that I, too would be excluded. And this was a good case. I swore an oath not to disclose what it was, but it was right up my alley. The process was explained to all of us, and we were separated into pools. The judge conducted my voir dire, and I was not surprised when I was dismissed.

I was struck by how similar this process is to online dating. And if online dating was taken this seriously, it might actually work. What both parties are looking for is the right combination of factors. Nobody fits exactly what you're looking for, you just have to pick the people you think will be the best fit. In the end however, it's a gamble at best. You put it all out there and hope that it goes your way. Most dating sites are set up this way. Both parties present their profiles, and the site determines which ones would seem to be the most appropriate. And trust me, it's a gamble. Have you read my previous posts? There are also some things these sites could learn from our judicial system. First, every step is explained on the 7th to 8th grade level. There's no room for confusion, and if you mess up you can be held in contempt and fined. Oh that it were so in the dating process. Secondly, there are people to do your talking for you. You are paying for someone to vet and approve anyone that comes into the pool. And they can dismiss people without any explanation at all. Lastly, there is a person in a black robe to let you know when things get out of order. It would seem like it's pretty obvious when a violation has occurred, but you'd be surprised.

The most recent breach of protocol was from someone that I wished could have been voir dired by the dating judge. I received a message that simply said "Ur cut". Since I wasn't bleeding at the time, I inferred that he was complimenting me on my picture. His profile had very little information and all of his pictures were sideways in the landscape orientation. Two things were fairly obvious. One was that the guy was not tech-savvy. Second was that he looked like a serial killer. So much so, that I showed it immediately to a friend simply so that if my headless corpse ended up in a ditch, she could direct the authorities to his profile. I messaged that I was currently searching elsewhere, and wished him luck. A few days later, he messaged that "full disclosure" - he was married. But it was a loveless marriage and he was looking for "companionship." Gross. He obviously hadn't watched the jury video, and I'm pretty sure the judge would have held him in contempt.

If the judicial process is analogous to dating,  then a first date is like a preliminary hearing. You either dismiss the other party, or agree to set another date for a full trial.

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