The coarse laughter of the seagull reminded me that I had bee staring for some time. Staring into the middle distance without doing anything else. It was a welcome relief from the act of doing nothing, something that I had sat myself down on a bench with a purpose to do. It was in striking contrast to the way I had set up my day, filling my backpack full of items that would sustain me through the potentially arduous vacuum of the jury room: iPod, laptop, book, notebook, pen, cell phone. As it happened, I used most of these before lunch, and was grateful to have them all.
Then, after lunch, I was set adrift. Once more my experience with the justice system was profound and brief, the judge decided that I wasn't ready to decide for him. I wandered out into the midday hustle and bustle of downtown Oakland. I walked a few blocks to the spot where my wife had agreed to pick me up and found a spot to sit down and wait. I sat down and did nothing. Nothing. Just sat and stared. At one thirty in the afternoon. No none around to distract me beyond the random strangers passing by. No Internet connection. I watched the birds. I watched them fly. I watched them swim. I looked out on Lake Merritt and tracked the ripples as they moved to the shore in front of me. The breeze shifted and stalled, then picked up again.
It's so hard to sit still. The runners going by remind me of the movement to which I am accustomed. How many laps have I made around this lake? Now I'm that guy, sitting on a bench. What am I learning? What am I accomplishing? What am I achieving?
Stillness. Allowing the world to pass me by for a change. I'll be back up and moving soon enough, straight through until dinner time, then off to bed where I will toss and turn in anticipation of another day's restless energy.