It's a Census year in Canada, all the ones ending in 1 are, I believe. June was the census month, and my household received two copies of the official form, one addressed to the basement. There's no basement, not even a crawl space you could hide a body in. Normal people just throw out an extra form like that. But me, I'm not normal people. It says it has to be filled out, by law. I can't just throw it in the recycling. I call the number on the form. The woman says I only have to do one.
"So I can do two for fun?" I ask, because that's what sort of idiot I am.
"If you want to." Good grief. How the heck are we going to count who lives here, if that's the advice they give? But I do do two, but by the electronic method. I log into the website and enter the code from the form, and then enter an accurate count of who actually lives here. For the second form I enter zero in the number field. No one lives in the non-existent basement. Why do I do this? I expect it to reject it, and I enjoy feeling superior to computers, and being stupidly accurate. To my surprise the site has a page ready for my response, with half a dozen reasonable suggestions for why there might be zero people at an address. I pick "does not exist or apartment has been merged with main dwelling," which perfectly describes the situation.
I'm impressed. Now you can see I'm not cranky about all questionnaires. Just the vast majority of poorly written ones. My only complaint is that they required every person in the household to be classified as either male or female, no other option. Requiring one or the other has caused pain and persecution for a lot of people. Biology isn't always binary, but boxes on forms and societal pressure cause people to be physically forced into one box or the other shortly after birth, even when they aren't. The expectation and the forced compliance are so pervasive that a lot of people don't even know that not everyone is born into one of the boxes. Everyone wants to know if it's a boy or a girl, but for one in every 1500 to 2000 births in North America, a specialist is called in to decide which box the baby goes into, often via surgical alteration. And although most people have little difficulty identifying with one sex or the other, one in a hundred people has a body that differs from the standard minimum equipment list for their placarded gender. If people are equally represented in the blogosphere as in the delivery room, that's about ten pageviews a day on this blog. Hello ten people, who possibly don't all even know that your bits don't match the spec! You count too.