I was in the Army the last time the Census took place and I should have known that with a Census Headquarters down the street, I could expect a visit from the nice people working there.
First off, I think it’s great that this is putting people to work. Too many people out of work and the road to recovery is a slow one. When I saw the HQ on the news, opening down the street, I was happy to know some of my neighbors would have jobs again, even if it’s a short term one.
It was around 7pm on a Monday or Tuesday, when i got a knock on my door. “Who could that be?” I thought “Who dares drop by unannounced?” I figured it was neighborhood kids selling candy and I was out, so this might not be a bad thing. I looked through the window and who do I see but a man in his 40’s wearing a tie…this is never a good thing. I opened the door.
The man introduced himself as a census worker and I looked at the two previous notices of the missed visits on my counter, but I wasn’t buying it yet. I’ve heard the horror stories of these guys pretending to be census workers, only to rob the residents of the home blind. I quizzed him with the most bizarre questions possible, things that didn’t have anything to do with the census. Who was the judge on American Idol before Ellen? Where did JJ Redick play college ball? He got both questions right…he must be legit. I invited him inside.
He sat down in the living room and he looked at his clipboard and began to ask the questions.
1. How many people living in this home? – I answered
2. Are there any ADDITIONAL people living here- “Do you think I’m a liar?” I replied. I was joking but kept a straight face. He looked concern….”I’m just playing, dude, no….” there was nervous laughter and he continued.
3/4. I answered questions 3 and 4 about owning or renting and my phone number…. This is a potentially awful pick up line at the bar “Uh, Hi, I am with the census and can I have your home phone number?”
5. My name- Got that one, had to know that for the SATS
6. What is person 1’s sex? “Are you joking?” I asked “This is my first day, I’m just going through the form” he replied. Great I thought, the people that are trying to get the info, that could potentially bring more congressional seats to Florida, just fed me the same line I got from the kid behind the counter at McDonalds. I am joking! I did feel bad for him and I decided to try and behave.
7. Age, date of birth- I joked about my age and he didn’t laugh. Apparently I had used my allowance of polite laughs.
8. Are you Latino? If so what Origin? Now, the form says that this is form anti-discrimination provisions and Voting right Acts…Sure it is. I answer “Hispanic, Puerto Rican. I have a Chihuahua, she is named after a Mexican city, would you like to see her papers?” “That is Arizona, sir” he said without looking up from his papers. I could tell he was thinking..”great, last house of the day and I get this wise guy”
9. What is your race? “I’m Hispanic, wasn’t that the last question?” duh. “Sir, for some reason that is not one of the choices” “So, what are all the other Hispanics saying?” I replied, a little annoyed “I haven’t had any other hispanics today” he said, he couldn’t get out of here fast enough. I’ve been called ethnically vague before and I don’t speak with an accent, but I was concerned. “Dude, just put something” I said..he was uncomfortable and checked something. I did some research and it turns out the box to check was white, he might have checked that.
10. Do you ever stay somewhere else? Ok, now he is scouting the place for a robbery later….”no” I replied with a hint of curiosity.
By this time we were both irritated and tired, like when couples get in long discussions over an easy question like what they’re eating for dinner.
I suppose he was a nice guy and he wasn’t in a joking mood, and after all it was his first day. Maybe, I was too harsh?
I do know that the next time the census comes, I will send in that form, the second I get it. I will probably fill it out at the mailbox! Unless, we’re all chipped like my chihuahua by then…
Till next time thanks for reading!