So if you have been following my saga over the past few posts, you are aware that I’ve been summoned to act as an Enumerator on behalf of the Census Bureau. It’s all VERY official. I have a black satchel with “US CENSUS BUREAU” on it and a name badge that I wear around my neck. And I had to write my own name on it. Yeah… your government spared NO expense on my supplies.
Because we are government workers and we represent our country, it was mentioned that we should dress “appropriately.” That was all that was said. My idea of appropriate and someone else’s idea of appropriate might be two different things. Now they did mention that jeans with holes probably aren’t appropriate.
So on the afternoon of the third day of training, they threw us to the wolves. We took our little black satchels, our name badge with our hand written names, and off we went to face the public. Knock on doors. Run from dogs. Dodge bullets. Right into the thick of things.
First house was pretty cool. Friendly… answered the questions. Thanks and have a nice day. On to the next house. Talked to a neighbor… got what was needed. Next house… nobody home. Next house… nobody home. Next house… got the info and moved on.
THEN things got interesting. I just had a feeling this was going to be a good one when I pulled into the driveway and saw they had a cable running from the inside of the house to the window sill on the outside of the house. And connected to the cable was a set of rabbit ears with tin foil prominently hanging from them. (Actually… I thought I had pulled into my own driveway.)
So we head to the front door and knock. You could hear movement through the open window, so somebody was in there. Knocked and waited again. Finally the door opened and a lady was standing there wrapped in a towel. We explained who we were and that we needed to chat for about 10 minutes.
She explained that we had interrupted her shower and would it be ok if she got dressed before we started. Lady… from the way you look, NOTHING would make me happier. And please feel free to bush that one tooth you have there on the top. We’ll be glad to wait.
So she goes off to get dressed and comes back and steps out on the porch since we aren’t allowed to enter homes… not that I would have WANTED to enter this home. And then the screaming starts. The younguns can’t see Mama. She is on the porch with the door shut and they can’t see her and they commence to wailing. And screaming. And pawing at the door.
Finally, one of them manages to get the door open and two of them run out… naked as jay birds. About two years and three years… somewhere right in there. And they dance around on the porch and then head off into the yard. I explained we would be MORE than happy to wait if she wanted to get some clothes on them, but she said they were used to running around like that.
At some point, the little boy made his way in the house and found some shorts he brought to her to put on him. So then he is running around the yard in a pair of shorts and the little girl is just enjoying being one with nature. And that is how we left them.
On to the next address. Hmmm… house under renovation. But there is a car in the drive and the front door is open. So we made our way to the front door and knocked. And we waited. The house is obviously empty, but we have a job to do. After all, I have a satchel and a name badge with a hand-written name. By golly, I’m going to do this job. So we knocked again.
After another short wait, a little lady of… oh… maybe 60-ish… came around the open door. Staggering. Wobbly. All bug eyed. We explained who we were, showed her our hand-written name badge and told her what we needed and that it would take about 10 minutes. “Huh? Who are you? I’ve been painting in the kitchen. Do you think I should open a window? I was having to sit down when I heard you knock.”
Folks… this was just the first afternoon of this journey. I still have five or six more weeks to go. And they actually give me money to do this. I almost would have paid THEM for this opportunity.
And that’s MY take.