Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Do You Know Where Your Husband Lives?: Census 2010, Part 2

I try to be a law-abiding citizen. Seriously, I do. I have never gotten into trouble with the law over anything greater than a parking ticket which, I might add, I only got because I loaned my car to one of the attorneys I worked for and SHE got the ticket. Lest I sound like some cheerful, goody-goody nice sort, if you have read this blog at all, you may have noticed I have kind of a bitchy streak. You may have also taken note that I do not suffer fools gladly and suffer institutionalized foolishness is even less gladly. The cruel irony that the Bulldog (my husband) is in the highly institutionalized military has not escaped my notice, and has occasionally worked my last nerve. Being well-versed in the ways of bureaucrats, I try avoid them at all costs. At the very least, I try not to be blind-sided. If I have to deal with one, I take a deep sign, and put myself in my invisible, bureaucrat-proof psychic bubble-of-protection where not even the most well-seasoned form-wielding nonsense peddler can rattle me. I also carry a rabbit's foot, just in case. When I went searching for an illustration to go with this essay, I discovered that even Buckingham Palace has to answer those stupid Census Bureau questions. So, if they can make the Queen do it, I guess they can pretty much make me, too.

Saturday, after a rare day of socializing, I noticed the message light was blinking on the answering machine. It was the Census Bureau. They had a few questions they needed to ask me. Son-of-bitch. Now what did they want? O.K., so I initially had a FEW problems filling out the form which required that I kind of scribble things out, and write things in, but I had finally determined, under careful consideration and a long distance consultation with the Bulldog that TWO people live here. One. Two. O.K., so maybe the Bulldog WAS out-of-state on April 1, 2010, but his OFFICIAL home-of-record according to the ARMY is here. In my world, the U.S. Army ALWAYS trumps the Census Bureau -- it just does. Besides, that is what Bulldog said to put down. He owns the house we live in HERE not THERE. Therefore, he didn't get counted THERE, because he was counted HERE.

Of course the census taker I talk to is a serious, suspicious sort. She should have been employed by the FBI. She KNEW I was lying my ass off about where my husband was on April 1. Only moments into our conversation, knowing I totally suck at lying, I blurted out:

"Well... he wasn't HERE, he was THERE." Son-of-a-bitch, I thought. She had me on the ropes. Please don't send me to federal prison.

"Where was he?" she asked.

"The Army. He is in the Army." I think this statement should pretty much explain everything, but noooo....Miss Nosey Pants wanted to know an address for THERE.

"Can I get an address for THERE?" Probably, since Bulldog has to submit a gazillion forms to the army to get paid for being THERE, but seriously, was this any of her business? HE LIVES HERE, DAMN IT!!! I SWEAR HE DOES!!! Man, those people at the Census Bureau can split some hairs. Then I started thinking: Ethnicity. What if she asks me the Bulldog's ethnicity? Please don't ask me any ethnicity questions because on the form I said the Bulldog is Caucasian, when he is a whole lot Spanaird.

Suddenly, the part of my brain that used to work at a law firm started spewing something in "Bureaucratanese":

"I don't understand why the census bureau is putting an additional burden on the families of our servicemen and women requiring them to provide additional information during a time of war that civilians are not required to provide." I said. Hell, I don't know where the Bulldog is half the time, why does the census bureau need to know?

Weird thing was, Bulldog was present for this entire conversation, but the census taker refused to talk to him because he hadn't filed-out the form. Oh, yeah, it was MY ass they were after.

After several more minutes of this exchange, the census taker gave-up and moved on to the next question. When I hung-up I said to the Bulldog:

"I thought when I sent that form in that was the end of this census crap."

"Uh, no. I heard they are doing that a lot this year. You know they are even following-up some of this with personal visits."

Son-of-a-bitch. I just know those people are going to come knocking at the door. Who know where my husband will be by then.

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