The Bike Guy’s Advice

Tour de France
Sharing a smoke during the 1927 Tour de France. Really? Really . . .

“Don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt.”

I recall waiting at the red light. The driver next to me had leaned out of his window to give me that suggestion. Or was it advice? Or a joke? He smiled and I smiled and then he made his turn, merging his car into the traffic.

The light turned green and I bicycled across the intersection, still smiling. Fasten your seatbelt, the car guy says to the bike guy. Right. Road humor. (Once, before walking my dog chewed into my exercise time, I oft pedaled the roads of Fresno.)

The driver’s comment was more a joke, but I probably filed it in the advice category because I had recently given my sage advice to another person sharing the road of life and skinny tires with me.

Now, let me preface these next comments by objectively stating that what I provided—free of charge—was excellent advice. Was my advice uninvited? OK, no one had asked to hear my opinion. Am I a qualified expert in the subject? OK, I wouldn’t even be considered an amateur.

But why let common sense prevent dispensing my valuable insights? Continue reading →

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Among the Chosen

Once, not so long ago, the Feds got me.

Was I in shackles, accused of poor writing? Nope. Was it for that little IRS slight-of-hand a few years back? Wrong again (and tell the IRS I’m only kidding). Alas, it’s mundane. I had been summoned for jury duty. Federal Court. The Eastern District in California. Whoa.

Federal Court is different from my local Superior Court. Instead of having a citizen “on the hook” for one week or one trial, the Feds nab you for an entire month. If you are selected for duty and serve on a jury, you’re done. But if you are not selected, the Feds are like a bad habit . . . they keep coming back. Do they want me this week? Or next? Or next?

A month can seem like a long time.

The other thing that can seem like a long time is camping in the jury room lounge, trapped with other Eastern District denizens while watching the exciting (not) and emotionally riveting (not) “Federal Jury Video.” Bring on the popcorn.

Fifteen minutes can seem like a month. Continue reading →

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When the Chosen Become Vulnerable

Once, I confess, the Feds got me.

Did I end up in shackles, accused of poor writing or telling way too many half-truths? Nope. Was it for that little-bitty IRS sleight-of-hand a few years back? Wrong again (and please tell the IRS I’m only kidding). Alas, it’s mundane.

I was summoned for jury duty. Federal Court. The Eastern District in California. Whoa.

Federal Court is different from my local Superior Court. Instead of a citizen lassoed for one week or one trial, the Feds nab you for an entire month. If selected for duty, you’re done with the obligation. (Though who knows how long a trial could last!) If not selected, the Feds are like a bad habit—they keep coming back. Do they want me this week? Or the next? Or the next?

A month can seem a long time. I rarely like to be dismissed, but after a month, I was glad the Feds no longer cared about me!

Another lengthy experience was sitting in the jury room lounge, viewing the “Federal Jury Video” with forty or so other Eastern District denizens. Bring on the popcorn and Milk Duds, it was Hollywood at its worst. For the fifteen loooong minutes, I remained on the edge of my seat, mostly just trying to stay awake. The sacrifices we make to be, er, good citizens!

Jury duty can be like many events in life: wait. Then wait a little more. Continue reading →

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