Thursday, May 27, 2010

Census Report: A Lot of Nothing Much

This morning I returned to Fort Greene—one of my favorite nabes in Brooklyn—for a where-we-be meeting with U.S. Census Bureau management, supervisors and Crew Leaders. In the early days (um, March), during the Group Quarters count, that comprised all of 15 folks. With NRFU—the mammoth residential knock-on-doors operation—there are close to 100 CLs in our Brooklyn district—in addition to their 700 staffers.

The news: Wrap it up! The feds have little understanding that the big ole United States is not all the same city. So if Omaha can get its count done in a month, well, surely, there’s no reason that all of New York should have any trouble doing the same. This is what happens when the U.S. Department of Commerce is controlled by statisticians instead of real people.

Unfortunately, because I came into NRFU late—since I was tying up loose ends for Group Quarters—I was never given a staff of enumerators to canvas my Brooklyn Heights neighborhood as a CL, as with GQ. So instead, my role for the past several weeks has been to float: train new hires, assist my original supervisor O with spontaneous clean-up tasks and miscellaneous duties… none of which have been scintillating enough to share here. Sigh.

However, today, I was able to collect some delicious anecdotes about the thrills and spills of those crews that are knocking on doors in Park Slope, Borough Park, Clinton Hill, Sunset Park, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens… Believe me, despite an exhaustive national ad campaign, there are still plenty of idiots and assholes that just don’t get it.

“If Jesus came down from heaven, I wouldn’t give him the information you’re asking for.” Fabulous! Buffoons who cherish their Second Amendment privileges and come to the door with gun in hand. Wonderful! “I got two of the questionnaires in the mail. Why is the federal government wasting all that money, and now they’re paying you to interview me?” Response: “Did you send either of them back?” And: “Well no.” Dingbat, that’s why we’re here! Then they are those buildings where the doorman forbids Census workers to enter the premises, cause that big macho man is protecting his residents from the scary Census workers… sorry boob, it's federal law that you let us in.

Come on, we’re only here to help out your community, your neighborhood, perhaps your very family. And still, paranoid people remain paranoid. So please take your meds and deal with the fact that we’re not going away. Knock, knock, it’s the feds. Again. And again and again. Tee hee.