It’s census night in Ireland and I absolutely love filling in the census. Even the weird questions, like what kind of sewage does your house have and what time do you leave home to go to work every morning.
I had no idea what to answer for either of those questions, so I guessed, as I did for many others. I didn’t know what to answer for the health questions – do I have difficulty walking and climbing stairs? Do I have emotional/psychological problems? I said no to both. And I ticked the box that said “male” but I really felt like writing “-ish” after it.
I derive enormous pleasure from the idea that the census form you fill in becomes part of the public record after 100 years.
I probably won’t have children. I like to think I’ll leave a footprint on the planet.
In April 2116, the census I just filled in will hit the internet and my future biographers will eagerly seek it out.
I spend a lot of time thinking about my future biographers. Even when I was a child writing a diary, I wrote it with the idea that someday, someone would read it because I had risen to a significant status in the world.
I keep my CV up-to-date and I love adding things to my Linked-In. I don’t use Linked-In for “networking” (vomit) or “reaching out to business contacts”. I can’t even imagine how it could be useful in a work setting. I just love biography. My favourite bit of my Easter trip to Cork was sitting in the kitchen with my sister for three hours, writing a CV for one of her friends in Spain who’s moving to New Zealand.
My future biographer will have this blog to consult. I’ve also been recorded on 7 census forms, 5 in Cork, one in Dublin and one in Longford. My dad let me fill in our family one on a number of occasions, because I liked it so much. There’s my Twitter feed, my Facebook, the fragments of novels I’ve been writing since I was a child, various diaries (all only a portion full), my mother’s numerous photo albums, half a chapter about me in my friend’s Irish-language memoir of his time in Poland, my various tax documents and pay cheques, my Linked In, my profiles on at least nine different man4man websites and more.
I worry about my future biographer. None of my friends really know all the jobs I do. Is there enough documentation to put it all together? Will they know to search Longford for me in this census, or will the Longford year(s) be a blip that biographers don’t know about?
What will my biographers make of the naughty messages I exchange with hairy middle-Eastern 22-year-old men I meet in the middle of the night online? Will they look at those photos? Will they put those photos in the biography?
Will they read all my Facebook messages? And will they understand that I sometimes say things I don’t believe if the person I’m writing to is really good-looking and I want to impress him by agreeing?
I try not to think about my biographer, because it’s massively egotistical, but I do find myself thinking of him/her a lot as I rephrase an email or a Facebook status update. I hope she/he reads this post and knows that I care.