My afternoon was interrupted by a survey call a week ago. I informed the guy that I’m on a “no call list” but he told me that my opinions matter, so I went through with it. In a way I wish I hadn’t. I learned that my opinions only matter if they fit in the boxes he had to tick off his survey.
He said that the survey would only take a few minutes. When it was over, half an hour was gone. Perhaps he was lying about it taking a short time just to get me to do it. Perhaps it took so long because the questions were all wrong.
The survey was about reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. The choices were using more ethanol or fracking.
I of course am opposed to fracking, for numerous reasons. It poisons the water supply, it harvests yet another non-renewable resource (natural gas), and the product itself is dangerous and hard to transport. Natural gas isn’t the answer, and in order to use it for our cars we’d all have to buy new ones. You can’t get more wasteful than that. What would we do with all the old ones that won’t work anymore?
But I’m opposed to ethanol too. The more land we use to grow corn for ethanol is less land we use to grow food for people. Empty stomachs rate higher than empty gas tanks.
At one point he said as part of the survey that the corn used for ethanol wasn’t the same kind of corn used to feed people – and that it was also used to feed cattle. I had even more problems with that. Cows aren’t meant to eat corn. They develop E-coli in their guts when they eat that. It isn’t how they are designed. They are meant to eat grass. But then, that isn’t even the point. Again, there is a distraction there. The more meat we eat, the more unhealthy we are. Skip the whole issue about feeding corn to cows. Skip the cows entirely.
See my frustration? No matter what he said, it was wrong.
So, what about ethanol? It isn’t oil. We would reduce our “dependence on foreign oil” and “become more independent” as he said. Ethanol isn’t an efficient fuel. For many older model cars, just using it voids the warranty. It is a cheap filler.
So from my perspective, he was asking the wrong questions. Really, if we want to become less dependent on foreign countries by our need for oil, we need to stop using up so much energy.
My husband takes the train or the bus to work. Mass transit is more efficient. It is better to use one vehicle to take forty people to work than forty vehicles. When the weather is nice he takes his bike. As for me, I bought the house close to work. It is a short drive. Not only am I saving fuel, but time.
Both of us fill up our gas tanks only once a month. It isn’t everything. Everything would be not using gasoline at all. Because of how American neighborhoods are laid out, that is nearly impossible. The grocery store is too far away to bike to and get everything. We drive as little as possible, being mindful of combining errands and catching rides with friends if we are going to the same events.
It is something, and something counts. We are reducing our use.
Better than that, we as a culture need to start using renewable resources. Solar. Wind. Water. Oil and natural gas will be used up. Probably not in our lifetime, but does that matter? We need to think about future generations. What are we leaving our children, and their children? An empty husk of a planet? We had the party and left them the mess to clean up.
The guy administering the survey was just reading off the script. I had a hard time with them because they weren’t the right questions. If the choice is get more oil or go for more ethanol or go with fracking, it is still wrong. I argued with the questions in my frustration. There simply wasn’t a way to answer the questions the way he was asking them. I could tell he was trying to shoehorn me. I kept questioning. I kept getting frustrated.
I doubt I woke him up. I doubt he was even listening to what I was saying, because I wasn’t really answering his questions. The call “was being monitored for quality assurance purposes”, but even then I doubt I was able to wake the monitor up and make him think. I’m pretty sure they think I’m another quack who just doesn’t understand the questions. The problem is that I understand them too well.
I’m pretty sure my answers are being tabulated and calibrated and measured and made to fit whatever theory they had before they even started calling people. Surveys don’t prove anything. If you know what you are doing, they can mean anything you want them to.
I wish I’d not even talked to him. I feel like I wasted my time. I feel like my personal space was invaded for half an hour. To let someone talk mindlessly at you on the phone is just as invasive as letting them in your house. It is all space.