i recently had the pleasure of being summoned for jury duty–and i say this without irony or any excess of civic pride. while jury duty is not something i dread in the same capacity as most might (i always thought it might be interested to see how a court case really works aside from the made-for-tv dramatics of it all), it’s certainly nothing i eagerly anticipate either. however, serving my time on a random tuesday in downtown san diego was an incredibly enjoyable and productive experience. it started with the courtesy of every single governmental employee i encountered–from the friendly guards manning the x-ray machine to the perhaps overly solicitous bureaucrat who reprinted my summons for me, the personnel side of things certainly overshot my expectations of a dmv type experience.
once i checked in i took a seat at a small round table in the quiet business area–a room that divides you by a door and a glass window from the rest of the hoi polloi. i squeezed into a table, only to discover my laptop was quickly dying and for a room of 25 business professionals there were only four wall outlets. however, lucky for me, a resourceful older man who had obviously done this before pulled out a surge protector with a multitude of outlets for all of us to share–such a small and simple gesture, but it instantly made him the most popular person in the room (and rightly so). i plugged in and got to work, only to find several hours later that it was one of the most productive days i had in ages–i’m not sure if it was the sense of urgency that i might be called away from the task at hand at any given minute or the change of scenery, but something definitely clicked with me.
a voice over the loud speaker announced that we were released for lunch. i enjoyed a leisurely hour of shopping followed by an alfresco lunch. full, caffeinated and pleased with my purchases, i spent the rest of the afternoon in a state of buzzing creativity, knocking items off my list that had been taunting me for weeks on end and met several lovely people in the process. who would have know jury duty could be such an enjoyable experience? definitely good motivation for me to mix up my locations and working style a bit more frequently–it’s amazing how much environment can positively or negatively effect the work you produce, sometimes in surprising ways.