Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Judging Books by Their Covers

Set the waybac machine for the early 90's.

Collin county abuts Dallas county on the north side. At that time the Dallas suburbs had just started expanding into the southern edge of Collin county but otherwise Collin county was all farm land. I had been living in Dallas for several years and while I liked the big city and working for a big airline sometimes the never ending bustle would wear me down. I got a chance to move to Frisco Texas in Collin country. It was an old farm house for rent on 10 acres. The rent was ridiculously low! Frisco's population then was 1,200. It was a farm town but only about a half hour commute from Downtown Dallas (then!)

I grew up on a farm and going to the Dairy Queen in Frisco (the only "fast food" place in town) and listening to all the old farmers BS was just like being a kid again. City by day, country by night. It was a good life.

So one day as a fairly naive younger man I got my very first jury summons there in Collin county. Well this is court I thought so I dug out my wedding/funeral/interview suit and went to the Collin county courthouse off in the country seat at the appointed time dressed in my finest finery!

We had no more than gotten started and the judge recessed for several hours. I was thinking it's too far to drive home for that amount of time but I don't want to sit in the jury waiting room that long either so what do to? Ah ha! On the way in I saw a large diner on the highway not to far from the courthouse so I figured, get a newspaper, have a snack then sip coffee and read till time to come back. (which was a valuable lesson. I have never gone to jury duty again without a good book or two! :)

So I stepped into the diner and I was at home. The place was pretty full and there was a sea of Oskosh B'gosh overalls topped with ball caps adorned with feed, fertilizer and tractor logo's. Like any busy diner there was the din and clatter of dishes and dozens of forks busily at work and the murmur of a hundred conversations you can't quite make out. Ahhhh. I knew this place even though I had never been there before.

As I was standing in the doorway looking for an empty table I noticed the din was dying down and gradually all heads were turning towards me. I looked behind me to see what everyone one was looking at but there was nothing. By now the place was far too quiet and EVERYONE was looking right at ME. It was EXACTLY like a scene out of a movie, ya know, where a key character steps through the saloon's swinging doors and everything just stops!

But why would everyone be staring at me? What did I do? Is this some kind of secret cabal thing I just stumbled into? Oh man am I gonna be the next virgin sacrificed to corn gods? WHAT?! I am actually becoming alarmed! Then the light bulb finally went off! It was the wedding/funeral/interview suit! I was the fly in the punchbowl! In their minds this slicker in his suit does NOT belong here!

So in a loud clear voice so everyone could hear and even laying the country boy accent on thicker than usual I simply said "Jury duty o'er at the courthouse today folks." A hundred ball caps nodded in near unison and I heard many "Ah's" as folks turned away and the din built back up to normal levels.


Still, only when the waitress said, "How do you want your coffee sug?" did I fully relax though. She did not ask IF I wanted coffee, only HOW I wanted it and she called me "sug" (First syllable abbreviation of sugar; It's a Texas thing) That's when I knew for sure I was "in" in spite of my 'cover'.


Chandan said...

Its crazy....I guess I learn so much about Texas in your articles, no wonder if I start behaving like a cowboy in a while... :-)

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

@Cowboy Chandan- Woah there partner! Ease up! Lets start small on the cowboy scale. Let's start with curbs. Drive over some small curbs and drive over the grass. When that no longer freaks you out we will move to step two. :)
(note, do NOT drive on the grass in pounding rainstorms like one potential room mate Erika and I tried to get out of the mud one night. )

tammy said...

I kinda want to live in one of those small towns sometimes.

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

@tammy - I think you dress too nice for that! :)