the census assigned me 78 cases last night as i was getting into bed. in the darkness of my bedroom i scrolled through my case list. they were all addresses around me, mostly on the somerville side this time. it's nice to take a break from cambridge, and at the very least i wouldn't have to do anymore harvard housing, which makes me want to pull my hair out.

i had nothing going on this morning, so much so that i decided to start my shift early, at 11:30am. that meant i could stop working by 7:30pm, with today's sunset at 7:29pm. i get the feeling that by next week i'm going to be working even earlier (11am), just so i won't be enumerating into the night, which is a terrible and unproductive feeling.

after some granola blueberry yogurt for lunch, i left for my census duty. today was hot, but dry, with a strong breeze, and the temperature seemed to be be dropping as the day wore on. or maybe i've simply gotten used to the heat and it doesn't bother me anymore like it did at the start of august.

all the addresses were close enough that i decided to walk today. once again, a lot them were proxy eligible, and i steeled myself for a day of proxy hunting. but the strangest thing happened: instead of asking me to find a proxy, once i tried the case address and no one answered, it stopped asking me to find any proxy altogether, and moved the case to the inactive list. granted, most of these proxy eligible cases were proxy attempted in the past; maybe after a certain number, the census doesn't bother hunting for anymore proxies and move these cases into phase 2. so that made my work a little easier. it felt wrong though, and i called my supervisor to let know her that our census app was behaving in a way different from our training app. so it seemed like proxy eligible cases were recommendations to find a proxy but not required. i still hunted for proxies regardless, maybe this was a one day bug, just to work these cases a little more with the hopes of closing some.

cases with just 2 attempts would still make you find 3 additional proxies though. those i made sure to look around and find 3 potential proxy addresses before attempting. i learned to be more liberal when it comes to my proxy selection. for some reason i thought it meant find 3 actual people to talk to, but it's perfectly fine to ring a doorbell and nobody answers, that counts as a legitimate proxy attempt. and it's also okay to stop random people walking in the street to ask them about a house, and even if they know nothing, that's a legitimate proxy attempt as well. basically anything can be a proxy, failure or success. that made work so much easier, and i actually looked forward to finding proxies, because surprisingly a lot of times i actually did find neighbors who could give me some info about the address in question. i've also gotten better at asking the key questions: number of occupants, male or female, relationship to one another, age, race. there's also a rent/own question (though i can usually figure that out based on whether it's an apartment complex or condos), and sometimes i ask if they know the names.

i had 78 cases, i only managed to work 34 addresses. of those 34 cases, i cleared 19, 14 which were interviews, many with proxies. i actually get more interviews when i find proxies than just ringing doorbells and leaving when nobody's home. i came home around 2:30pm to use the bathroom, but decided to take my 30 minute break early, maybe also take a break from the afternoon heat. for the second half of my shift, i took the bike and enumerated a few cases in cambridge, to the south of me. i returned home, dropped off the bike, and walked to the cases around me. first case i did, i realized i forgot my census id. fortunately no one was home. i quickly went home to grab the id before going back to that apartment to continue my enumeration.

unlike yesterday, today was a good census day. if every day was like today (minus the heat), i could work another month easily, no problem. not sure if it's a highlight, but i definitely had an interesting encounter when i saw a man with a yard stick beating some undergrowth around a house. it seemed like he was looking for rats and i asked him about it. sure enough he was. an irish fellow, he used to be an IT officer for an internet company, programming for many decades, before he got laid off in 2008. once his unemployment ran out, he had to get a job, and ended up working as a pest controller. it didn't make much money, about the same as his former unemployment benefit, but he worked his way up. i told him i'm a former programmer as well, he said once the census work was over, i should consider going into the pest control trade. i'm not sure what he saw in me that made him think i'd be a good pest manager, maybe simply because i was curious as to what he was doing.

i stopped working at 7:20pm, so i'd have enough time to walk back home. i still had a lot of energy, even though it was definitely getting darker. i wasn't as tired as yesterday. after a shower, i made another chicken burger for dinner. my appetite's back too, later in the evening i also ate a cup of noodle soup. not sure where the census will send me tomorrow, i hope it's another batch of good addresses. i'm tired of cambridge residences, give me more somervilles!