Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Monday, July 10, 2006

Agents in the field

Well, there's a crisis at Stats and folks from "head office" (that's us!) are being recruited to Go West and help out. Apparently there's almost 1.5 million Census Forms still at large, and lots of them are in AB, particularly in the more northern regions. We had a meeting Friday with the people organizing the push and trying to explain what would be necessary. It sounded really interesting: 3-4 weeks out west, working 37.5 hours a week, but most likely Sun-Thur shift, interviewing people who hadn't had a chance to fill in their forms, both short, long and the really long agricultural form "6"

I applied for the position, just the thing to defeat the anxiety, panic and doldrums I'm stuck in. Or is that a rut? I don't know.. but an all expense paid trip to someplace I'd never been (including accommodation, rental car, salary, food, gratuities) sounded like the cure I needed. Of course at the end of the meeting we headed back to our section, all chatting and curious. BT was at the door of our area, urgently talking with a group of mostly women: "Oh you know, you'll be talking to people who REFUSED to fill in their forms! They could be crack dealers, or it could be a grow op! And you'd be all alone, a woman, no cell phone!" "What if it was a pig farm and they were all psycho??" And on and on and on. And the inevitable "Of course if you were a guy, or in pairs, I wouldn't worry at all!"

This angered me so much. I felt this rise of indignant rage at the gender-bashing injustice pour into me. I said "If I lived my life in fear, I'd never leave the house. What stops you from walking out and getting creamed by the #86 in front of your building? Anything could happen!" (Besides, some of the guys in our group are smaller than the girls.)

BT "Well, what would you do if this really hostile pig farmer came at you?" Me: "I'd clock him in the jaw!" Of course, I'm taller and broader than say, my buddy Catherine, but still.. geez! Of course, with my luck, I'd end up trying to get Census forms filled by people in a dog-patch farm right out of "Trainspotting". "It's ok, d'you guys mind if I just walk through and count you?"

My friends Myra & Joy piped up at the crack house comment "Wow! That'd be our lucky day!" It was just so strange to be encouraged to take this opportunity to go west, help head office with the special project on the one hand, and on the other to be completely terrorized and intimidated by our Supervisor over the possibility that solo female members of Stats in the field could be murdered, fed to pigs or worse... Maaan.

Anyway, it's probably moot, cause I didn't get a confirmation email this morning. So who knows. More later this week--!



Doc Savageland said...

Sounds like someone needs to get this supervisor fired. This is against governemt policy in a big way. All the rules are there on paper to deal with peope like that. The only thing that stops these rules from being implemented is people not coming forth and being counted. All it takes is for one person to NOT move to the back of the bus, and dicks like that could get fired. Making all the other dick's shut up. I cincerely hope this happens where you work. If I was there, I would be over at the head office complaining about the sexist work environment. This kind of stuff really pisses me off, and I'm sorry you have to deal with it daily.

Eifriger said...

Thanks for the support Keith! Would you believe this person is a woman? I find it interesting that a lot of discrimination happens against women from other women, helping keep the patriarchal rule firmly in place. Many more of the women who were interested in the position have since dropped out. There's only about 3 of us now.

Doc Savageland said...

Actually that makes a lot of sense. There are many women who have been rendered very afraid of men because of the shit that men do. You can't deny the statistics. When men get killed, it's becasue of the job they do, or they were just in the wrong place. When women get killed, they are killed by people they know, like family or boyfriends or husbands. That is a truly appaling statistic that says nothing positive about the male species. And it has a lot of women afraid into thinking that if they are in trouble, they can't possibly do anything to defend themselves. Which is of course crap. Most people have no idea of what they are capable of, because they are too afraid to try.

Rob A. said...

Man I hope you get it. That would be a lot of fun. Your boss sounds like one of those people that likes to project their own anxieties on others. Other than the fact that ALL farms in northern Alberta are grow opps and snuff porn factories she is way out of line.
Walk with hands and eyes open and the world will embrace you.

Eifriger said...

That last line is beautiful Rob! It helped to give me courage yesterday, especially when I was at my most scared :-) And Keith, you're right about people being too afraid to see what they can really do! Fear can be paralytic.. nothing gets done, nothing changes, and the more you give in to fear, the less you'll be able to face up to it next time, until you might as well be wrapped in a straightjacket in the basement because your own mind and desire has created a perfect prison for you.