Saturday was the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear, in case you forgot. I have footage of the rally. I haven’t had a chance to do anything with it yet.
What you might not hear or read about the rally is what it was like to be a part of the crowd.
Tina, regular-reader Luis V., his girlfriend Becky (or Debbie) and I stood in the middle of 7th Street. I denoted where that is on the photo above.
We hoped to have been with a larger group of other non-theists, but coordinating the timing proved much harder than we all anticipated. Not one of us predicted the amount of people at the event.
Looking at it now, we were far from the stage. If you can tell, 7th street runs right through the mall. Unfortunately, every time an ambulance wanted to use the street to pass through, it took a mesmerizingly long time. We’d see one coming from 50 feet away, and we’d say, “Fuck, here comes another one.” Ten minutes later, it would pass us.
Everyone around us would push together and then split apart to make room for the vehicle (or vehicles), much like what the Red Sea in a dumb old cliché.
The other irritating part about being in a street, there was a constant flow of people trying to go from the left to the right or the right to the left side of the mall. This pissed us off at times. Instead of staying where they were, people thought they could see better if they went to the other side of the HUMONGOUS crowd.
But no one lost their temper. No one got upset … for the most part. We all grinned, bore it, and enjoyed what we could.
Here’s what I think separated us from the rest of the animal kingdom. No one broke and blew hot angry coals of miserable fire everywhere. No one lost their marbles and said, “Fuck you, I need my space.”
We were hot, hungry and faint. We couldn’t hear a damn thing coming from the stage. Once in a while, one of us would hear something and relay it to the rest of the crowd. Or one of us would say, “Hey, R2D2 is on stage. Isn’t that cute.”
At one point, I wanted to make a “Life of Brian” joke, “Blessed are the cheese makers? What’s so special about the cheese makers?” But I held my tongue for some reason. But in my fantasy, it would have been hilarious.
We were jammed up against each other. At one point, I said, “I think I might be pregnant.” It got a raunchy laugh from our local vicinity of new “friends.”
At another point, Tina introduced herself to the guy behind her. He was pushing his “belly” up against her, and she kind of felt violated if she didn’t at least know the guy’s name giving her a slick willy up against her ass.
About an hour and a half in, I looked at Tina’s face, and she was about to lose it. She felt claustrophobic and lightheaded. She tried to keep it together, but with each person pushing against her or each group pushing through to the other side, she felt more nauseous. Once she announced that she wasn’t feeling well, everyone around her showed compassion. They offered her a little more space, and different people kept asking if she was okay. One guy’s concern really touched me, and I felt very appreciative that in the event that I would need to carry her out, these guys all had my back.
I’m not saying it separated us from the Tea Party rallies. If they had anything going for them, they had the luxury of space around them. Those of us rallying for sanity had no such luxuries.
After the event ended, Luis, Becky, Tina and I stuck around and watched the crowds’ massive exodus. We took pictures and tried to soak in the event we just witnessed. We were also hoping for cell signal to return, because all 215,000 of us had shut down the cellular network and even blew up one of the cellular satellites, and we needed access to facebook to find out where the secular group was meeting. We finally started walking away, and didn’t get a signal for about a mile and a half.
Once we got to the restaurant meeting place, the atheists were all seated on two floors of a huge restaurant. There was no more room left, so Luis, Becky, Tina and I left and grabbed a seat at another restaurant. We were all so exhausted and tipsy after dinner, we parted ways and headed back to our hotels.
When I woke up the next day, Becky was with me and Tina was with Luis. I’m not sure how that happened.
I would definitely do something like it again. I would drive the distance. I would spend the money. I feel that I supported and experienced something relatively worthwhile. I stick to my guns. I loved the video I posted showing how dumb people are. That’s how I see the world in general. We all need to educate ourselves. We also need to avoid cameras for the most part. I have footage of Tina and I talking about the event, and I won’t post it, because I don’t want it up. I’m too critical of it.
We should all be critically minded people striving for what’s best in the world.
We should all strive for sanity.