A while back I took the test for when the census comes to town. I figured for $18 an hour I can knock on doors as well as anyone. It was an interesting test in that it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to finish flawlessly in half an hour. I took it at a community center in a nearby town on an extremely miserable day and the room we were in was on the cool side. When the guvmint lady called out, “Fifteen minutes left!” I actually got a chill as I discovered halfway through there was math involved.
The questions all had several parts, and I found myself rereading some of the paragraphs on which the questions were based multiple times. It reminded me of the reading comprehension tests from grade school where they’d give you a story and then ask questions pertaining to it. Which was fine if it was about the circus or something interesting, but when it got down to soil erosion and layers of sediment, you could look around the class and see everyone’s head rocking back and forth in misery and you knew which question they were on.
One of the multi-part questions went something like this: If the house you are sent to is a rental, go directly to part H skipping A-G, but if it’s a private house, answer A-H unless the property owner is either absent or a leper and then skip A and B and just run the hell home. Not really, but that’s how it felt and that’s what I’d do. I was the second person to hand my test in and the guvmint lady marked them as she received them, giving out the grades when everyone was finished. I got a 95% and I know exactly which question set I messed up.
It had to do with directions on a map, maps being my nemesis. For example, you’ve visited the house on Watergate Lane and your next stop is on Haliburton Road. To do this you have to travel a) west and then north, b) east and then south, etc. and there was a legend to consult which I’m pretty sure I didn’t look at. I got tricked because the street connecting Watergate and Haliburton was called West Avenue, and in my directionally challenged head, west is always to the left and east to the right so that’s how I answered the questions. It’s like I live in a private goofy world where no matter where I’m standing, if I walk to my left long enough I’ll hit California. I know, it’s ridiculous, which is why I carry a GPS with me anywhere beyond my mailbox.
At our recent family dinner celebrating Son’s birthday, I mentioned having taken the census test and how I was waiting for them to call me since I scored a high grade.
HUSBAND: That’s probably why they WON’T call you. Intelligence is not a priority for the government.
SON: Hey, I just got that thing in the mail. What do I do with it?
HUSBAND: Fill it out and send it in. It’s important for receiving the services we’re entitled to in our area.
SON: What if I don’t send it back?
OSV: I’ll have to come count you. (turning to Husband) What do you mean they won’t call me? I was one of the first to finish. Two people didn’t even get a grade because they got frustrated and left in the middle.
SON: (nodding) One of them will come count me.
Last in a series of entries where Two Words Say It All in Daughter’s Featured Fotos