Peebles: You’re cordially invited to the Survey Party

2013-09-01T01:30:00Z 2013-12-07T21:19:47Z Peebles: You’re cordially invited to the Survey Party The Southern
September 01, 2013 1:30 am

It doesn’t take much to excite me. Little things like a mysterious package at my door, a rainbow or when the digital bathroom scale falls half a pound really make my day. Call me naïve, but even fresh road construction signs are somewhat thrilling.

For instance, take the “Bump” sign. Anticipating a new bump in the road is rather fun, even though most of the time it turns out to be disappointing. Do you ever wonder why the road crews just don’t fix the bump instead of taking the time to put up a sign?

Just the other day, I was driving to work and noticed a newly placed orange diamond sign that read “Survey Party Ahead.” Something about the combined words of “survey” and “party” made my heart skip a beat. Two of my favorite things happening at once? This just couldn’t be true!

Most people dislike surveys. They are tedious and time consuming, but there is nothing better than voicing your opinions, telling others about yourself or, in the case of the U.S. Census, counting the bathrooms in your home.

Speaking of the 2010 Census, I was truly disappointed that it was not longer or more in depth. This is something we only get to do every 10 years, so why not celebrate? Unless you have 14 kids or live in a commune, it’s pretty boring. I craved more questions, more choices and more details. They didn’t even inquire about pets. The whole ceremonious, once-in-a-decade process took me a total of three minutes.

Maybe the U.S. Census Bureau needs a creative humor writer on staff to develop their questionnaires. What better way to get people to lighten up than making them laugh a little? The name would have to change, too. How does the U.S. Census of Humor Bureau sound? Or how about the “Census Party?”

Unfortunately, the highway “Survey Party” was no party after all. It was one man in a florescent yellow vest looking through a surveying instrument. I am told (by surveying a surveyor) that these guys are looking at road alignment, where curves should be, elevations from benchmarks, center lines of bridges, right-of-way lines and something called the “point of tangency.”

I realized right then and there that the words “survey” and “party” have more than one meaning. On that same note, when I was a kid, I always wondered where the Democratic or Republican parties were taking place.

In a perfect world (the one in my head), I would have anticipated waiting in a line of traffic to be asked numerous interesting questions. For instance:

Survey Guy: “Good morning, ma’am, can I ask where you are going?”

Me: “Oh, just to work as usual. Do you want to know what kind of coffee I drink?”

Survey Guy: “No, but how much driving do you do in an average week?”

Me: “Oh, a great deal. You see, I have this new job and I drive about 100 miles a day. My brother-in-law supplies me with tires and does my oil changes at his shop. I think he’s making a living off of me!”

Survey Guy: “OK, thanks for your time.”

Me: “Don’t you want to know what radio station I listen to?”

Survey Guy: “No thanks, you can move along now.”

Me: “Is the Survey Party just up the road?”

Survey Guy: “No, unfortunately, I’m the party.”

Me: “Oh darn, I was all geared up for a real party. Are there any Democrats or Republicans around?”

Martha Peebles claims Willisville as her hometown but now lives in rural Percy. She is a nurse who wants to be a humor writer when she grows up because she feels that laughter is truly the best medicine. Contact her at or visit her blog,

Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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