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Monday, May 10, 2010

Bend Over & Relax - They're Just Taking A Census

Three weeks ago I received a local census survey from the city of Yakima. Being a good 'American', I distinctly remember taking it directly from my mailbox and placing it quickly into the trash. Forget 'out of the envelope', it never even made it inside my house.

Today, around 1:00 pm pst, I was rather surprised by a knock on the door. It sounded Official and smelled like paperwork. My poet-senses were telling me this was gonna be trouble, or at least mildly annoying, but I was curious.

There on my patio stands a women about 60, dressed like your grandma, with a plastic clipboard in one hand and her trusted, yellow, #2 pencil in the other. "Is this 1410?" she asked.

I looked up and to my right at the wooden plaque hanging by the door that reads: 1410, and say, "Yeah."

"The Yakima {something official-sounding} Board issued a Census report to this residence and it was never returned." 

"Yeah. And .... ?" (I placed emphasis on the pregnant pause at the end)  

She goes on to explain to me how important the census is to this and to that in Yakima, and if I'd just be willing to take her survey now, it will only take 10 mins. 

"Ok, but if this is gonna take 10 mins then have a seat and lemme grab a cup of coffee."

I return and she begins her questions, which are nothing more than a series of mundane things, which are not only already on file at the county courthouse, but are also available from many online databases. Her questions, just like the Census Surveys they send, are the Elephant, now here's the Theater:

They want to know who you are, where you are, and how many are with you at YOUR location. (somebody's counting heads.)

They want to know what race you are. Column D listed all kinds of labels from which I could choose, but I noticed that: HUMAN BEING wasn't even an option.

They want to know if you live at this location year round, or if it is ever vacant during the year.

They want to know if you know your neighbors.

Even though we sat on the patio and she never entered the house, she never stopped scanning / visually mapping the location. I could see she had been trained to observe details, tactically, like any cop, or soldier, so I intentionally left the door open ... and sure enough, she took the time to notice my bookshelf and comment on the artwork. (from the patio still ;-)

And when I told her, "I would like a census of the people in Government. I would like a count of the money going to black budget ops and exotic projects. I wonder if I can go knocking on the White House door to conduct my own census, and would they take the time to answer my questions?"

And this 60 year old women laughed and said, "No. They'd prob shoot you before you got across the lawn."     

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