It’s three thirty in the morning. Can’t sleep. I’m in the second week of this trial and it’s been high stress the whole time. Like an episode of Law and Order that never ends. I came home after work yesterday with my head in a vise and took some aspirin and went to bed to read and was asleep by eight. Dreaming of the next witness we’re going to call. Etc.
Now I’m up and it’s not bad. Still and quiet, except for the gurgling of the fish tank. The bulldog snoring in the corner. I fell asleep before the Wild Woman of Borneo and her baby got home, so I didn’t get to see them, but I can see his blocks scattered on the floor, and his sippy cup on the kitchen counter, and she left the television on with the sound off, so I know they were here and did make it home and are now sleeping safely out in the studio. All is well.
All is well.
I have to admit I’m enjoying this trial business. I like the open combat aspect of it. I spend so much time amassing information, taking statements, gathering facts, that I sometimes forget that in a way it is like gathering ammunition for a battle. Now that I’m in the trenches, I’m grateful for all of it. And until you’re in trial, you don’t really know what’s going to become significant. I mean, you know, you do know the important stuff. But at any moment what you thought wasn’t significant can suddenly become the hinge upon which all things turn. When that happens, you’d better hope you did your homework right.
I am also astounded at the system of which I am a small, barely functioning part. I mean the jury system. It’s astoundingly primitive. Primitive, but powerful. It’s as visceral as our civic duty gets.
I’m reminded of a story the David Christian tells in his Big History course, of Aboriginal justice. Before there were courts and governments, human justice was a communal task and obligation. He tells the story of an aboriginal tribe, one of whose members had killed three men over the course of a year. The men of the tribe gathered together and ambushed the killer, and killed him. Then each member of the tribe ritually stabbed the man with their spears, so they all shared the burden and responsibility of his killing.
Anyway, I got my spear ready.
Maybe I’ve said this before, but I’m going to try from now on to remember, as I go through my daily life, that the important thing is not what I am doing, or trying to do, or neglecting to get done, but rather, how I interact with those around me while doing so.
It’s the contact, the spark, the incidental interactions with other human beings that matters. The opportunities, large and small, to make each person’s day a tiny bit better if I can. To let them know that they are seen, that they are loved, that they matter.
The rest of it is chaff.
In other news, I’d like to take a month off and go live in the woods.