The second we see the jury summons envelope in the mailbox, most of us start figuring out how to get out of service. It’s an annoyance. It’s a hassle. If you get chosen, it could take a week or two, maybe even more, out of your busy schedule.

But it’s also our civic duty, and it’s a hallmark of one of our most basic freedoms — an independent judiciary that depends on the voices and the wisdom of the people to decide cases.

I was quite impressed with the judge and the lawyers, who were all good people and who all did their jobs very well. It increased my appreciation of our system which, as clogged as it is, as many faults at it can have, still works.

It was fascinating to watch it work up close and in person, and once again be reminded of why lawyers hate lawyer TV shows — because it’s really nothing like what’s shown on the screen. It can be aggravatingly slow, but only because it’s painstakingly methodical, logical, and follows a process that’s built to ensure that each side is fairly heard, fairly represented, and gets a fair shake from a jury of one’s peers.

And hey, I got to eat lunch downtown for a few days.