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Census

xmas me
So after completing various Necessary Things, I was just about to settle into Lost when the doorbell rang. Some mysterious package? A smoke monster? A polar bear?

Alas, it was merely a census worker, come to hand deliver our census forms and deliver a nice lecture about The Importance of Being Counted and how Winter Garden and Orange County and the State of Florida and indeed everybody desperately, but desperately needs this form and how critical it is and how absolutely everything is Entirely but Entirely private and we can trust the government.

The speech made me dizzy, which caused a minor interruption, and filled the Little One with transports of delight, since he could see a Person! Standing Outside! With a free hand clearly meant to scratch the head of small and eager cats! "COUNT ME!" he yowled, launching at her in a matter that many people would find either desperate or impolite, headbutting her in a manner that I can only call insistent.

Alas – and this may shock you – the census woman was not all that fond of cats. In fact she gave him a look. I'm not, however, entirely sure that he noticed, given that his response was to yowl and headbutt her again.

I did eventually manage to retrieve both the forms and the cat, but I have to say, I cannot remember the U.S. Census ever being this insistent before, - and I say this as a former U.S. Census worker who watched the chaos of 1990. The last few times they just mailed the forms, and the actual in person visits were saved for those who forgot to fill out the form. As I recall, not everybody took their civic duty seriously – quite a few people had intriguing responses for the racial question, which we dutifully entered into the computer under "Other" after typing in the specific responses. (One wife had a particularly endearing description of her husband's race, and you would be surprised at how many United States citizens do not think they are actually human and go at some lengths to explain this. You would also be surprised at how many people list their pets and horses under the human information. And yes, the Census has codes for this and those forms and info are later corrected – just not at the data entry point of view.)

But this time, aside from an insane number of commercials, we have received three separate mailings telling us that our Census forms will be arriving, plus this personal visit and the speech. The IRS is less invasive. I'm assuming that this is so that the Census can truthfully say that they've spared no effort here, but I hope this doesn't end up backfiring on them.

Meanwhile, this all made me wonder about what might happen if the Census headed to Lost's Evil Island. (I know; it's probably not under U.S. jurisdiction even if various U.S. soldiers ended up there - and did we ever find out what that was all about? I am lost and confused - but bear with me.) Who, exactly, DO you count in the island population? Smoke monsters? Not exactly dead people? Time trippers? And Kate? Must we count Kate? Does a smoke monster have voting rights?

I guess I need to get back to watching to find out.

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