It all started when we pulled into the Metro parking lot. The line to pay for parking alone was quite long… but then someone pointed to
THE line leading into the station. It coiled from behind the parking garage,
back inside, and slithered it’s way to the entrance, five bodies wide and
thousands of bodies long. We were definitely going to be in line for a while,
but there was no way we were turning back.
Once we got on the train, hundreds piled on. The train lurched forward and I was afraid we’d come off the tracks. Morgan assured me
the train could handle the capacity though. It was so exciting to hear all the
people around us discussing the turnout and how much “sanity” they were
surrounded by in that moment! As daunting as it was to make our way through the
line and the crowd, all those bodies represented a unified desire for
When we got off the train, we made our way to the National Mall only to be met with an unmoving mass of people politely struggling to get
near the stage. We tried to see what was happening on stage, but quickly
resigned ourselves to people watching. Turns out, people watching might have
been the best part of the rally. There were so many brilliant, funny, profound
and striking posters that I wish I could have spent the entire day
photographing all of them. I guess I’ll have to scour the internet for the best
signs, but I was very impressed with the witticism displayed.
We quickly realized that it would be best to confirm our reservations at the 21st Amendment Bar and Grill for our first Think
Atheist meet-up. We walked up a few blocks and squished into the tiny grill and
asked the bar tender if they had us on the books for 4 o’clock. It was about 2
o’clock when we asked, and they assured us they would make a space for us at
the appropriate time. I wasn’t feeling very confident, however, and realized
Morgan and I didn’t think to make ourselves easily identifiable to those who
had RSVPed the event. We hesitantly left the grill to explore the rally a bit
I took lots of pictures and we tried to squirm into the crowd to catch a glimpse of the action, but alas. I’m going to have to Google
the event and watch it later. I had a great time seeing the people
participating in the rally.
We finally went back to the grill and tried to get our space emptied out, but that turned out to be rather futile. They were understaffed
and people could not be moved from their seats in front of the TVs showing live
coverage of the rally. At this point, I was really worried our meet-up was going
to be a total bust.
Right at 4pm we managed to grab a tiny table and pull up a bunch of chairs and ottomans. Morgan had been standing around holding up his
iPhone with a paint app on it that read TA.com, but that didn’t seem to be
attracting any wandering atheists. He then pulled out the questionnaires we had
typed up and some nearby guys eyed the Think Atheist logo header and said they
were with us. PHEW! Then they brilliantly suggested we write “Think Atheist
meet up” on the back of our papers and stick it in the standing menu on the
table. At that point, several others wandered over. What a relief! If only we
had made a sign earlier.
Several other people joined us and we had a great time yelling over the crowd at one another. Morgan ordered some pitchers of Yuenling
and Blue Moon; I ordered some nachos, and we all shared our stories. Todd,
Mark, Jason, Ryan, Melinda Janelle, John, and Laura all made this meet-up
totally worth it. Thanks for showing up and being such great conversationalists
We’re working on organizing our next meet-up already, which will not be scheduled after a major rally. We will also try to find a place
that is vegan-friendly, or at least has more vegetarian options. We’d like it
to be quieter than it was, but what can you expect considering the event?
Overall, it was a success and Morgan I are both very much looking forward to
doing this again.
I hope everyone made it home safe and sound and had a Happy Halloween!