Saturday, May 01, 2010

What they don't tell you about the Census

Before I started enumerating, people generally had the same set of concerns: Would I get Scary Territory? Would someone attack me? Would people say angry things because I Work for the Government? Did I need a Big, Intimidating, Male Companion to ride with me? Did I need mace?

I've been officially on the job since Thursday, and so far although I have talked with someone who initially did not want to speak with me, people have been cheery, helpful, cooperative and kind, as a rule. Even that person ended up telling me pretty much everything I'm supposed to find out.

Here's the thing, though.

I have been to houses in foreclosure. Houses unoccupied because their owner is in a nursing home. Houses with trees growing through the roof, broken windows, and doors either boarded up or left ajar. Houses which may be abandoned, or may just be teetering on the edge.

I also talked with a guy who has been out of work for six months. He reminds me a lot of someone I know, and I wish I could do something for him, but heck, I can barely find work for myself.

I am seeing edges of poverty and uncertainty and despair, and sometimes it just hurts. I want to hug some of these people and pull them into my group of friends who are looking for work.

Who knew that being a Census enumerator would be so intense?


Anonymous said...

As painful as those moments can be, I kind of enjoy them. Those little brushes with reality are nice.

Christine said...

You are right, Knot. I'm not saying I regret them...only that the world is big and full of stuff I can't fix.