by Peter Byrne
(Swans - October 8, 2007)
He: A poll is as simple as saying yes or no. Or making a check mark.
She: A check mark?
He: In a box.
She: In a box?
He: Wait a moment. Look out the window. Is it a nice day or is it raining?
She: It's hot as hell and forget raining. It hasn't rained for six weeks. That's why we're not allowed to water the lawn.
He: Wouldn't you know it? Yes or no is too simple for her. Get it into your head that the point of a poll is to find out what you personally prefer.
She: I'd like some rain, after dark, not too much. I don't want to cover up and wear galoshes in this heat.
He: Galoshes? Have we got those?
She: Only one pair. They're with the snow shovels in the garage.
He: Exactly. Galoshes are for shoveling snow.
She: You'd be glad to have them in a flood.
He: Galoshes in a flood would hardly help. You'd want hip boots at least.
She: I'll put us down for another pair.
She: In the box.
He: For the poll? A poll doesn't only ask what you want, but what you don't want.
She: Uh huh. Well, I don't want a poll. I want action, rain.
He: Now you've understood. So when they ask you, "Madam, what would you prefer?" you say a late night shower or whatever.
She: Okay. "Sir, I prefer no poll please. You can stuff it."
He: That's no answer. You should say, "No opinion."
She: Me, no opinion? Look, I may not be in the flower of youth, with all the flashy do-dads, but if there's one thing I do have it's opinions.
He: Let's drop it. When they phone you, simply say, "No tanks. No speaka da English."
She: They certainly have Spanish speakers.
He: Tell them you're from Hindustan.
She: What language wouldn't I speak there?
He: Are you pretending to be dimmer than you are?
She: Non-comprende. When was the last time they phoned you for a poll?
He: Personally? Never. Not yet. It's odd because they're making a hell of a lot of calls. Only this morning the paper had a full page of poll results.
She: So I don't know anything about polls and you're priming me for a call. But you know all about polls and they're ignoring you.
He: I don't claim to know everything. It's simply that as a responsible citizen I open the door to participatory democracy.
She: They come to the door too?
He: Manner of speaking. I don't hang up on them.
She: If they call.
He: One of life's uncertainties. But it's only a matter of time.
She: Good. I'll keep my no opinion ready for them.
He: You know what? You're one of those 3% margin-of-errors.
She: My best friends never told me.
He: Myself I'm more an undecided, weighing up the pros and cons like a judge.
She: You ought to take a gavel with you when you answer the door.
He: Let's get some air.
She: I'll wake the pooch.
He: On second thought, let him sleep. That sun won't help his asthma.
She: I'd take a nap myself but I'm afraid the phone will wake me.
He: Hold on. We're not going to cower here in front of a telephone. I'll disconnect it for the afternoon.
She: If you think so. But it's a radical move. What will the pollsters think?
He: What do you mean? We've got our rights. Nobody-at-home should have a niche in the statistics. If not, let them call back.
She: Fine. Close the curtains and don't step on the pooch.
He: Look at him dreaming. He must have a lot of data in him.
She: I suppose he could be polled. He has his views.
He: I'll say this for him: He's a pretty broad sample.
She: You know, he won't eat just anything.
He: He could be surveyed on his favorite dishes.
She: He nixed that Chinese import. He was having nothing to do with it.
He: So you tossed it?
She: I tried it on the neighbor's cat.
He: That was risky.
She: Nah. They got two, and nobody saw me.
He: The puss went for it?
She: Big time, in gulps.
He: Just as I thought. That Chinese pet grub wasn't poison. The public will believe anything.
She: What was the fuss then?
He: The pet suey made dogs sick.
She: That sounds like poison to me.
He: There's mental sickness.
She: A no-global fixation?
He: Just consider the pooch there. A dog's sensitive. He's not going to tuck into a distant cousin.
She: You mean the Chinese spiked their stuff with superannuated mutt?
He: Obviously. You proved it. Why do you think the cat went for it like that?
She: I never liked cats much.
He: It's a cruel world.
She: Without even thinking of people we don't know.
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