Paste it in the head!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Snootily pretentious. Or is it pretentiously snooty?

So, a few weeks ago I got summoned to appear for jury duty in Miami. Obviously, since I’m in Toronto, I wasn’t exactly able to appear. I’ve been called for jury duty several times, but I’ve never attended cause I’ve always been away at school. The other times, my mom took care of it for me. I like to think that she waved her magic Mom Wand and made everything ok. For some reason, she decided that this time I’d have to handle it myself. Maybe it’s cause I’m 25. Could be, but who knows. Anyway, she sent me the summons and I filled out the “unable to appear” box, or whatever it was, and attached a letter explaining that I’m studying in Canada and not only will I not be able to show up for jury duty, I’m also unable to provide a date at which I will be available, as I do not foresee returning to Miami in the near future.

Apparently, that wasn’t good enough for the kind people of the courthouse, as they sent me—and by me, I mean my parents, as even though I gave them my address here, they sent me this piece of mail at my parents’ house—a notice saying that they would need more information to process my request. I was then instructed to call them between the highly convenient hours of 10 am and 4 pm, Tuesday through Friday. It just so happens that I have this thing called a job, and lo and behold, it’s pretty much a 9-5, Monday through Friday kind of thing. I could make a long-distance phone call from work, but I’m not going to, on principle. The way I see it, they should be so desperate to get people in there for jury duty, they should be bending over and letting us, the good responsible citizens of the world, give it to them any way we want. If I want to find out about fulfilling my civic duty at—gasp!—6 pm on a Monday evening, after I’ve returned from work, I should be able to speak to someone at that time. Not gonna bend over for me? I’m not gonna bend over for you!

Instead of calling them, I’m sending them a letter in my most snotty, pretentious office-speak. I loooove writing letters like this. Where else do you get to use the phrase “in lieu of” other than an obituary? This is an occasion, an opportunity to pull out the old thesaurus and brush up on long-forgotten SAT words. You know that the person reading it
a) won’t be able to make heads or tails of it and
b) won’t care in the slightest, so you should…

c) have a little bit of fun with it.

So far, this is my favourite sentence:
“I was instructed to telephone the courthouse office between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and furnish you with further details regarding my situation; however, these times are inconvenient, as I am at work during the day and it is difficult for me to place long-distance phone calls at my office.”

The thing about these letters is that you have to make them sound hideously snotty without over-exaggerating. Like, if I wanted to be too obvious about it, I would have written this:
“I was commanded to ring the courthouse office between the hours of 10 o’ clock ante meridiem and 4 o’ clock post meridiem [or, for even further hijinks, “ten of the clock ante meridiem and four of the clock post meridiem”, but I think that would, perhaps, be taking things too far, no?] and furnish you with auxiliary details regarding the circumstances of my educational pursuits; unfortunately, these temporal junctures are vexing unsuitable [here I had a real tough time letting go of “vexing,” which is attractive for its Shakespearean quality, and “unsuitable,” which, in the end, drives home the fact that these hours are ludicrous], as I find myself at work during the daylight hours, and it is most inappropriate for me to place long-distance telephone calls at my office.”

Man, this is SO much fun.


  • Dude you should just call them on Friday since you have the day off to spend WITH ME!!! But I'll let it slid. An hour or so on hold with the court house shouldn't be too bad.

    By Blogger Aundra, at 12:27 AM  

  • Dude. The whole point of this exercise is that I'm NOT going to call them. If I call them I don't get to send my letter. I am way less eloquent on the phone/in person than I am in writing, and it's so rare that I get to be a snooty official-sounding bitch. Let me have my glory moment!

    By Blogger Tasha, at 9:04 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home