Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Census

Hello, lovely blog readers! I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile. But I do have an excuse and that excuse looks like this:

This would be just the start of my reading material to get through for my exam. We're supposed to be thoroughly read on four of the eight topics we were given in preparation for the exam- ahhhh!

But I'm not here to talk about exams. I'm here to talk about something that's been annoying me almost as much: the Census.

In the UK (and possibly elsewhere, too), the Office for National Statistics sends out an annual census, which keeps track of where people are when and their employment and marital status. It' compulsory to fill the form out, and if you don't, you get a big fine.

When the envelopes arrived in our flat in mid-March, I ignored mine, figuring that since it was a UK census form and I don't live here permanently, I didn't have to do it. Two weeks later, one of my classmates told me that because I was living here for more than three months, I had to fill it out. When I went to do so, however, I found that my form had been filled out. I immediately went on the website and had another sent to me, which I completed and sent in.

Jump to the past two weeks. Census people have to go around to every residence in their area, knock on doors, and ask people if they've filled out the form. If the answer is yes, the census person goes away. If no, they hand the person one of the forms to do then and there. Because there are so many people living on campus, they've basically set up a census patrol camp here, which means that I get asked at least three times a week if I've filled out the form. Thankfully, since, I have, they leave me alone.
But today, I was coming into the flat after grocery shopping and a woman was waiting by the building door. "Have you sent in your census form?" "Yes," I said, annoyed. "Okay, thank you." I went into the building and unlocked my flat door. "Excuse me," a man behind me said. "Have you sent in your census form?"
"Yes." Now I was really annoyed. But this time I wasn't dismissed.
"What's your room number?" I told him and he checked his form. "I don't have you marked as having sent it in."
Perhaps, I thought, that's because I've been asked by four thousand other people. I bet they have me down. "Well, I did," I said and tried to move past him to my room.
"We need it filled out," he told me. "Time's not really on your side here."
Um... what? It certainly should be. I sent this stupid form in over a month ago. "I don't think I'm at fault here," I answered. "I already filled it out."
"We need you to do it again."
I snatched the form with a definite attitude and went to my room so I could get a pen. In the middle of filling out the stupidly long form, the guy poked his head into my room and said, "I'm still waiting." I wanted to crumple up the paper and throw it at him. Sadly, my aim sucks so it wouldn't have made any impression and I would have had to start the form over.

I would have hope that since I filled out two forms that they would stop bothering me about it, but I still have to walk around campus and these people are everywhere. Maybe I should just hang a sign around my neck: "Yes, I have filled it out."

Also (because this is happening as I type this) I'm sick of the constant knocking on flat doors within and without of my flat as they go around and check. They never consider that a person might be out doing stuff and just stand there and knock and knock and knock. And, as I've found out from experience, if you here knocking outside your door and go, "What is that noise and why won't it stop?!" and you burst angrily out of your room to find Mr. Census knocking on the door across the hall, you will be given the Spanish Inquisition about that person's whereabouts.

A completely unrelated lesson learned today: it takes a really long time to peel a kiwi, and I question whether it's worth it :p


Anonymous said...

put a note on your door....
Yes I have sent in my census.
Do not disturb, studying for final in abnormal psychological behaviors.
Specimens welcmoe.

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