Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Senseless - an update

It was a dark and stormy night. Actually, it was a bright and sunny afternoon and I was sitting here eating dinner. Suddenly there was a knock on my door. Since I have no friends and I hate being interrupted during dinner, I ignored it. The person knocked again. Since I hadn't heard a car drive up I figured it was the neighbor boy coming for his payment for mowing my lawn. I made the mistake of answering the door. It was... a big ugly old census man! He breathed loudly, had a beard, and looked like he couldn't walk 1/4 mile to save his life. In other words, he was your ideal government employee.

He told me he was from The Census Bureau and had "a few questions that shouldn't take you no more'n' 5 minutes."

First he asked me to verify my address. Rather, he did not know what my address was. He had a stack of forms-- because apparently lots of people on my street didn't mail back a response-- and asked me which of the addresses was mine. "Is this [house #1] or [house #2]," he asked. I did answer that question.

Then he gave me a paper that included instructions for how to answer his questions. He asked me how many people lived here as of April 1st and if any of them lived elsewhere or had another address. I was polite in answering these so he seemed surprised when I would not tell him my name. He said, "Ya know, yer' required by law to answer these questions." I said, "No, I'm required to participate in the head count and that is all." Then I smiled sweetly. He said, looking puzzled, "Ya know, another lady just told me that!" He wrote, in big letters, REFUSED on the bottom of the page.

I proceeded with his questions politely, but would not answer much else. He asked for my birthdate and I said I would tell him the year but not the exact date. Then he said, "Yer gonna hafta do the math for me on that" in regards to figuring out my age. Then he said, "You know, you include more information than this on the IRS form." There are so many things I could have said in response, but I remained silent. He wrote REFUSED on the bottom of that page.

He told me that his supervisors were going to send him back to my house in a few weeks since I was not participating fully. I said that I understood that he was just doing his job and fulfilling his job expectations, but that I would not provide any additional information a second time around so it would be futile to come back. He said, "They'll send me back anyway."

Next he asked my race. I said "only Caucasian." He asked if I was Hispanic. I said no. He said, "Yeah, they're asking this so they can get more money for the Hispanics for going to school." Thrilling.

Then he had to check a series of boxes asking if I lived elsewhere during the year due to college, military, nursing home, etc. I said "just check no for all of those." He said he was required to read them to me individually.

Then he said, "I don't suppose you'd be willing to provide your phone number." This guy was perceptive.

He then told me that he would have to ask my neighbors to be proxies and have them answer the questions about me. Luckily, my neighbors know nothing about me except my first name and that I am that mean lady who always yells at their barking dogs to shut-up.

Finally the guy thanked me for my time and drove away to my neighbor's house all of 50 feet away.

Two thoughts:
1. I should have come up with wacky answers but in the spur of the moment I never think of witty responses.
2. For safety reasons, I should have told him at least 2 people lived here. :-( If he comes back that's what I'll say. It could be funny to give different answers than last time and say "Yes, I forgot that another person was living here on April 1st." More likely, I just won't answer the door again.

1 comment:

  1. I'm assuming you've seen this, but if not:

    The other day my next door neighbor told me a census worker came to his house and asked about me. He got upset and kicked the guy off his property.