A DIFFERENT SORT OF CHECKER ?
99,991, 99, 992, 99,993, 99,992,…………..@#$% ! 1, 2, 3……… Let the counting commence. Yes, its
2010 and time for the US Census to find out just how many people are on this huge land mass.
Last year during the winter months I applied for a job with the Census Team. First step take the 28
question test, not that easy ! and then wait. In March last year I was called forward to become an
Enumerator. 3 days of intensive training at the Cortez public library followed going through all the rules
and much reading verbatim from some very dry manuals while our Crew Leaders struggled with some
parts of the English language.
Hours spent fumbling with the hand held computer/GPS and then finally out in the field to see how it
all went together. Well of course if you only do this once every 10 years, and you employ people who
are learning the info themselves and are not qualified instructors or teachers then I’m afraid things will
not flow and knowledge will be difficult to impart.
Our task was phase 1, the mapping, and so now newly qualified and demi proficient with the hand
held GPS (made in China) I set off like Vasco de Gamma to map the world. One small problem with
the GPS was that it doesn’t like the Dolores River Valley and 1/2 way along main street it starts playing
up !……. and by the time you get to 17th Street its telling you that you are at 18th Street ? well never
mind I can live with that. A few weeks working my way through all my assignments leading up to last
years Pre 65 and then nothing !!
All tasks complete and no more work. Well fairly obviously rural SW Colorado is not a high density
area when it comes to the population and a lot of houses here are for the reverse snowbirds who
migrate out of Texas and Arizona to avoid the summer heat. So not really a surprise that the work
comes to a halt, but now we are moving into the final phases when the actual count begins in earnest.
With all our work mapping every dwelling the postal forms can now be sent out and one would hope
these forms will be correctly filled in by the said occupants and duly returned for the count. Well like
most forms of any government nature I suspect about 50% will never get completed, some will never
be delivered, and a good number will end up in the trash bin. So that is no doubt where we are going
on the next phase with a lot of evening and weekend work knocking on doors.
During my mapping phase work I did meet a very unpleasant individual. I could see a new house that
was under construction down by the river but had no number or street address and was not on my
map. A gentle inquiry with a neighbor gave me some information that some gentleman was building it
and so far it had taken 5 years but was not occupied. I duly set off down the track to see if there is a
number on the house or a building permit but, nice house that it is…… nothing. Oh well map it anyway
and as I’m doing this a Dodge dually flatbed comes hammering down the rough track in a cloud of
dust and parks sideways in the entrance.
Not what I was expecting !
The Neandrathal shuffles out from behind the wheel and cocks his 9mm as he verbally assaults me.
No amount of showing him my Census badges is going to placate this ruffian so I advise him that if
he continues pointing the weapon at me he will be taking a visit to the ER to have it removed from his
sphincter muscle where it will be holstered in about 30 seconds!!!
The badge of Office
This year I have been called forward to be a Crew Leader and I’m off to Grand Junction for 4 days of
training next week. Being a Government organization they at least pay well on the mileage so the 400
mile round trip will net enough for some of the trip to Buckeye.
The snowy conditions were not too bad and it seems Dolores itself got the most snow of anywhere.
With clear roads I’m at the hotel 4 hours after departure. Tuesday morning and training begins for 15
Crew Leaders for our phase which is the Group Quarters Enumeration which includes basically
everything that is not a normal house. What I mean by that is hospitals, prisons, shelters, bunk houses
and places like soup kitchens. When the facts are at hand you realise just how bad it is for some
people and for a small rural town like Grand Junction they estimate there are between 3-4000
A week of bookwork and learning the task and I’m back on the road for another 4 hour drive at 1730.
Quite pretty as its a very bright full moon so the light is reflecting off the snow in the fields and the
mountain tops look spooky. Reminded me of my cross country escape and evasion exercises in
Bavaria during Winter Survival many years ago.
Home now as a fully fledged Crew Leader……. let the count commence!
P.S. If you are coming to Buckeye for the 2 Day WE NEED CHECKERS so let me know.