Thursday, April 8, 2010

How the Census Ticked Me Off

You guys, Nerdfighters* are so cool. Case in point: during the liveshow tonight, the screen froze and we lost the feed. Everyone was very sad. So we tweeted Hank and Alan and some people CALLED THE BOOKSTORE where John and David Levithan were speaking. How COOL is that? Nerdfighters can do anything. (Unfortunately, John couldn't fix the problem because he was on stage. But still, it was awesome to see Nerdfighters in action.)

ANYWAY, after that my computer went all wonky and Safari froze and I had to shut the whole thing down. I blame livestream... I've heard it does that sometimes.

So, what I really want to talk about tonight is the CENSUS. I was so stoked to take part in the Census; I know it's super important for cities to get funding for schools and states to get their due number of representative and all that jazz, and I felt super grown-up to be filling it out on my own! I was just a kid last time, so I don't even remember it happening. It was pretty exciting to be a part of something so big for the first time.

And at first it was okay. They sent it in the mail, I brought it up to my room, and my roommate and I filled it out. It took maybe fifteen minutes. We sealed it up, stuck it back in the outgoing mail and voilĂ ! Done!

A couple weeks later, a little note came in the mail. "You will be receiving your Census form on April 6. Your response is required by law." Okay, I thought. That's weird. Must be a mistake. Maybe we got ours early because our building gets its mail from the city Post Office, not the campus one. I shrugged to myself and threw the little note into the recycling.

Then... we got ANOTHER Census form in the mail. I stared at it in confusion. But I already sent ours back! I thought. Oh, well. I didn't throw this one away, because I didn't know if that was allowed. So I set it on our table.

THEN. We got a HUGE envelope from the Census Bureau with ANOTHER survey in it. It was something that only a selection of the population got, and it was, of course, required by law that we fill it out. So we did. It asked all about the building we lived in, our electricity and water and coal use (which we don't have), and then it asked about our jobs and our income and yadda yadda yadda. It took a while to fill that one out. But, being the good citizen that I am, I filled it out and sealed it up and set it on my table to mail back.

AND NOW! TONIGHT! I am sitting innocently in my room, browsing the internet, when I hear some girls giggling in the hallway. I don't think much of it. I hear them knocking on some doors and telling the residents about something. I shrug and go back to my browsing; if it's important, they'll knock on my door. Then I hear them coming closer, I look over and notice that my door is open, but not all the way. I can't see them, but I assume they'll knock if it's some kind of message they're giving to all the residents. Then I hear something plop on the ground in my kitchen, and more giggling as they scurry away. I roll my eyes. Obviously it wasn't that important.

A few minutes later I get up to get some water and to check out what they left for us. As I get up to my refrigerator, I see a large envelope with my roommate's name on it and "Census 2010" written at the top. WHAT THE CRAP? I think to myself. ANOTHER ONE? I mean, come ON. That's the third one they've sent. It must be a mistake. I look inside the envelope with my name on it and find a single sheet of paper with "Individual Census Report" written at the top. I look at the questions. There are seven. Only seven questions. I frown and turn the page over, but the back only has instructions. Well, I think, This looks more like something a college student should have to fill out. I sigh and set it down on my bed. As I'm heading downstairs to go to our "Girl's Night In" program, I see one of the RAs.

"Hey, you're coming, right?" she asks me.

"Of course I am. Hey, why the heck did I get ANOTHER Census form today?"

"Yeah, that's the one you're supposed to fill out."

I stare. I blink. "What."

"I know. Apparently the other one was sent to us by mistake. Everyone on campus is supposed to fill out this one."

"But... but I already sent it back. Are they going to count me TWICE?"

"No, they're not going to count the other ones at all."

"But they sent me TWO COPIES!"

"I know. It's ridiculous."

"No kidding." I sigh. I walk downstairs and watch the movie with my friends. I complain about the Census to a chorus of agreement.

After the movie I walk back to my room, and lookie there. The Census. Sitting on my bed. Taunting me.

I roll my eyes, fill it out, seal the envelope (which didn't even seal all the way, stupid Census) and turn on my computer.

I am so over the Census.

*I realize that if you aren't familiar with Nerdfighters, this whole paragraph will be quite meaningless. To rectify that, you should watch the Vlogbrothers's videos. They are hilarious and made of awesome. You won't regret it. If you don't have time to watch every one of the videos, I would start with this Nerdfighter FAQ that John and Hank Green have so graciously made for your viewing pleasure.

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