I wanted to contribute my current day-to-day experience which shares much in common with those posting and agreeing that "They Can't Live On This Planet Anymore!" and to offer what helps me through it every day.
When I'm not developing lectures and multimedia pieces for Innerspace Labs, (please see my profile for fun bits about that!), I pay the rent working as a supervisor in a print center.
It is, indeed a struggle, as my workplace is made up of proudly fundamentalist Catholics who openly discuss their hatred of blacks and of gays and speak of how gays are an abomination in the eyes of the Lord... at work.
My manager slowly tortured a bird in our store and let it bleed to death over the next 24 hours instead of humanely catching and releasing the frightened thing.
My other manager enjoys printing images of aborted fetuses at work for customers who are planning to protest outside of clinics.
And my assistant manager told me all about how dangerous blacks are. They "took over her town and her school and would put a knife in your back if you crossed them."
My fellow associates make fart noises whenever a woman bends over in their presence, make sexually inappropriate comments about customers, and casually use phrases like, "aw shit, my bad - that wuz a Polack move" whenever they make an error.
An associate in my department has never seen a doctor, never received a vaccination in her life, and avoids all medications because her mother taught her that all doctors, preventative medicine, and prescriptions are a conspiracy.
As you would expect, they all wear "energy" hologram rubber bracelets, and end every sentence with the word, "bro." (Do you even lift?)
Every day for 8 hours, I service an adult population with a 30% illiteracy rate, drug addicts, and people of all ages and races who speak ebonics as their primary language.
The majority of the print work I deal with involves End of the World / Rapture brochures, pyramid scheme recruitment propaganda, and Reiki Master instruction books.
...So yeah, there's that.
As a secular humanist who enjoys antiquarian literature and a proper cup of loose leaf tea, it's safe to say that I'm "in the wrong room."
My coworkers openly confess that they've never read a book in their lives other than what was assigned in their high school days.
HOWEVER - this is not a vain rant of superiority. I wish to share a medicine for melancholy for those dealing with a daily grind similar to my own.
This Saturday, I am moving into a new studio. I am going to fill the room with things which inspire me - polished antique silver, fine oxbone china, the manifestos of early 20th century composers and the Italian Futurists, a brilliant hi-fi system with a beautiful rosewood turntable, and shelves and shelves of my favorite literature.
It will be a small and humble studio, but every night after a grueling day at the office, I will breathe easy, enter my lair, drop the needle on some Karlheinz Stockhausen or Morton Subotnick, sip my tea, and dive deep into my research before I retire for the evening.
I know this job isn't forever. It is simply a means of financial stability at present. So I say to you, the Atheists struggling to deal with ignorance and loneliness in your community, we are out there.
Make your home (or your room, whatever you have) a place of solace, filled with that which inspires you. Make it through each maniacal day knowing that you have that Room of Reason, that Space of Sanity to return to each night.
Just one more week, and I'll be visiting you from my very own rational sanctum.
I'm looking forward to seeing you there!