photo by J. Kelso.
I had jury duty this week, and spent 2 full days at the Fulton County Courthouse. The jury selection meat grinder was alternately dull and fascinating, and I didn't even make it to trial!
I hid a novel in my lap and I waited my turn as 50 of my fellow county residents stood and gave testimony about their background. Each potential juror had to spill some delicate details of their life story– crimes witnessed, perpetrated and survived, opinions about cops and addicts and dealers, knowledge of handguns...
But I was just as riveted by the parade of demographics. The white folks were all from the northern part of the county– Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Roswell. And they all had high tech jobs and they all were transplants to the South.
Those of us living south of I-20 were mostly Atlanta natives and mostly black. It was utterly predictable, yet I was taken aback by the formality of our segregation. It made me feel naive, sheltered even. Kind of like when I go to the airport and I'm mystified to see hundreds of laptops and maybe only a few Macs. Why would anyone use a PC? or live in Alpharetta? They can't all be wrong, but still, I get pretty smug about my little world.
During the breaks, I got to chat with a several nice jurors about the weather and the traffic. I got few blank stares from people, both black and white, when I mentioned taking Marta from Stumptown. And I have to admit reveling, silently, as they moaned about their commute down GA-400, 20-something miles in the rain.
Sometimes this city breaks my heart.