I have had a few surveys to fill out recently. I love them. They give me so much scope to change who I am and what I believe. This time I was Chinese and I told them I was really, really rich because I couldn’t be bothered working out how much I actually earn and which box it fitted into. I am often really, really rich when I fill out surveys. I do it because those who are really really rich probably don’t give a fig about Lime Scooters or saving the planet and I feel as though deep down, I’m one of them. I do realize what I really am is one of those statistical anomalies they cite when reporting back to whoever they report back to, but perhaps I’m not. Perhaps everyone makes stuff up and the true anomaly is the poor sad person who actually does spend 15 minutes filling out the survey and expects to win a year’s groceries. Duh! I have never yet seen anyone who won so much as a petrol voucher from those survey people who are always wanting to know things like how often you fart and what toilet paper you use. Or am I being a little bit tough on people who think asking questions like this is almost as good as living in the real world?
I think more of us should be inventive with the data that’s collected about us. I have a friend who’d slit her wrists before she’d have an online presence. She thinks the less others know about what she’s spending her money on and watching in her down time, the better. I admire her. She doesn’t have to write emails or check out FB and she certainly doesn’t have to come up with something to say in a blog. But the bald truth is that the world she and I grew up in, is gone. I can remember when we were in primary school and a man who grew up near us came to our school and gave us a talk about living in Canada. Not only had this man been to university, but he’d also known Indians. He blew my mind. I imagine Queen Elizabeth I had similar feelings when Drake gave her a rundown on what there really was on the other side of Plymouth. I do know that talk at school was the beginning of me realizing that I didn’t have to remain in one place forever. When I went back to that village a few weeks ago, the Hall had been pulled down, the church was gone, the tennis courts were ripped up and the whole place looked like a rubbish tip. It was the sort of reality I didn’t need but it did remind me that nothing remains the same. My greatest joy these days is when my family gets together. Sometimes it’s in person as we are about to do next week and sometimes it’s when by chance, we have time to chat and one by one, the faces are added to the screen until we are all talking and laughing and being together. You can say what you like about progress but when it comes to stuff like this, it reminds me of the excitement my brother and I used to feel when we picked up the telephone and listened to our neighbours on the party-line. You don’t always get what you want but it’s a damned sight more interesting than doing nothing.