So, it's day three of actual census-taking. I thought that $11.25/hour was a really good deal for just driving around all day putting information on people's doorknobs, but now I don't think I'd do it for a penny less. In fact, I'm wondering if I'm crazy to be doing this at all. Apparently there are people who live on logging roads in the middle of the National Forest, and I assume that they all have cars that are not eight-year-old Hondas with bad tires, because mine is struggling. They've got me out there forging creeks and blazing trails down the sides of cliffs to get census packets to a cluster of houses that look like they were built out of pieces of other houses. I'm terrified. I was scared at first of dogs and people wanting to shoot me, which are still very real possibilities but the more imminent danger is getting stuck on one of these roads, having to hike about 15 miles to the top of a mountain to get cell phone reception, managing to get someone to answer the phone, and then trying to explain exactly where I am (some road that is actually a ten-year-old four-wheeler trail in the middle of the Ozark National Forest), then starving or freezing to death waiting for someone to find me. That's the worst case scenario, of course.
When I'm not nearly frustrated to tears or worrying about who will take care of Story when I'm gone it's a really great job. I like driving (paved roads anyway) and listening to music and the Ozarks are very pretty. I've seen some amazing landscapes and have even started bringing my camera along with me and am feeling bad because I'm not good at taking pictures and these sights really deserve a professional photographer. Some of these old roads with the burned-out grain elevators or lone rock chimneys in the middle of open pasture are so amazing and sad because they look so lonely-like but it makes me happy that I get to be out there to see it, and may be one of the last ones to see it, really. I hope that I can take some good pictures that will at least give you a vague idea of what I see everyday. Makes me kind of want to find a spot of land in the middle of the forest and build a house from pieces of other houses, but I'll have the road paved. I'll keep you updated.