It's census time! Or actually, it's past census time -- the actual deadline for filing the forms was, perhaps unfortunately, April 1.
Then it was time for the long hard slog as enumerators -- the people charged with going door to door and tracking down households that didn't return their questionnaire -- were out in the field.
This matters to me because, as of April 26, I have been a temporary employee of the Census Bureau. I'm a fed. Yay. Unfortunately, my job is almost up. It's been, well, sort of fun.
I am not an enumerator, which is just fine with me: they have to face dogs, and people yelling at them, and the occasional firearm (not in our area, thank God). I'm a clerk, just one of the small army of clerks and other office workers who support their effort in the field: preparing binders, affixing labels to questionnaires, double-checking -- triple-checking -- to make sure that every household who did not return their form gets counted.
It's not rocket science. It's not even remotely glamorous.
There are, however, compensations. I work with and for good people (Hi Mike, Karen and Beth, in the extremely remote chance you are reading this! And Roger and Roger and Karen and Tom and Kristi and... well, everybody else!) And, deep down, I do feel significant.
What I am doing matters. The Census matters. It will affect the life of the country in very real ways. And I am a part of that. A small and probably insignificant part of that (I do recognize that I am fungible), but a part of that nonetheless.
In it's way it's as important as the voting work I used to do. Or more so. Voting changes things. The Census makes voting accurate and fair -- or at least as fair as it can be in this messy thing we call democracy.
So if an enumerator comes to your door, or if they or a Quality Control person calls you on the phone, please be nice to them. They're only fulfilling the Constitution's requirements.
It's your patriotic duty.