Monday, I was chosen for jury duty.
Tuesday, I woke up and took the bus downtown and went to the twenty-fourth-floor courtroom of the Daley Center. Security was tight and there was a big line, but I assumed it was the usual morning rush of court cases. I was the first juror present in the courtroom because I had written down the wrong time. Soon, a few others appeared.
A policewoman told me in hushed tones, “They bombed the World Trade Center.” I wondered who the “they” was, as I stood contemplating the way we tend to say “they” meaning a monolithic enemy, some generic presence from outside the comfortable “us.”
There was a TV there in the room, tuned to CNN and I didn’t quite know what to make of it until the judge told us to go home and come back tomorrow. He had an interesting look on his face.
Outside in the Daley Center, it was surprisingly calm. (Jeff Callen)