We are getting close to the Hurricane Katrina anniversary. Of course there is always the extra media attention and visitors that come around. There are also a lot of surveys and polls being conducted too. I was selected randomly to participate in one of these surveys Saturday by a university up north that I won't name because I haven't received my thirty dollar check yet. These surveys are so funny and strange. There is nothing like sitting on the phone for an hour with a stranger and telling them all of your personal business for research. They start off with some basic questions to make you comfortable.
"Where you living in the same house at the time of the storm that you live in now?"
"When did you come back after the storm?"
"Do you plan on staying in New Orleans over the next ten years?"
I don't have a problem answering any of these kinds of questions. The funny part kicks in when they start asking you to judge your mental state and things like that.
"So Mr. Harris, would you describe your anger level about Hurricane Katrina during the last 30 days as extremely pissed all of the time, often pissed, pissed off some of time, barely pissed or not pissed anymore at all?"
When you get that kind of question you have a dilemma. You don't know if there is some money for victims involved or not. You don't want to stay you are extremely pissed all of the time because it makes it sound like we can't let go. On the other hand if I say I am not pissed anymore at all the results might come back and someone may cancel that million dollar check they were giving to a organization or something. I always try to stick with the middle answer like "pissed some of the time". This usually works for the first two or three questions but there are so many of them that all sound the same you get confused and start selecting any option. After a few questions they sneak in one or two that they know will trigger something
"Would you estimate that when the levees broke you lost all of your shit, some of your shit, a little of your shit or none of your shit?”
"When you watch images of people stranded at the Super Dome four years later, do you still want to kick everyone's ass, just a few people's ass, only FEMA's ass, or you don't believe in kicking ass at all?"
By the end you have answered so many questions about your mental state in so many different ways you start to feel a little bi-polar. I told that lady that during the last two weeks feelings of hopelessness and despair have been with me some of the time and that's not true. I was going to tell her to change that answer but the questions were coming so fast I forgot. Now she thinks I am looking out my office window with the wrong ideas. I only look out there when a nice looking sister is walking up the street. I should call back and add that to my survey. Oh well, at least someone is still interested in how me and my issue having people are doing. You all can keep calling and we might give you honest answers.