I am sitting in a generic sports themed bar in the Atlanta airport drinking a class of kind of awful cheap red wine that tasted horrid when I started drinking it, but has since improved with each sip. The music is Top 40 stuff I have never heard, but its beats per minute suggest that I should be inspired to dance. I am waiting for a late flight back to Philly alone and the loneliness threatened to overtake me earlier, but I have kept it at bay by thinking about the Lost City of Atlanta episode of Futurama and also David Cross’ bits about porno mags in airport news stands and the Light Up Atlanta Festival. I just want to be home. This has been a particularly stupid business trip.
I won’t get into why as that’s a bit unprofessional to talk about on a public blog and would likely get me in more trouble than all this deviant sex and non-belief I talk about here. I think that’s progress somehow…
So instead I will share the following conversation I had yesterday with the gentleman I was traveling with. I don’t remember how we got into such a conversation, but at some point I was talking about based on Jewish rules, I’m totes Jewish, as in my mother’s entire bloodline is Russian Jew and I definitely would have qualified for a birth rite trip to Israel a few years ago (and a place in their terrifying military!). I then said,
“So yeah, I am technically Jewish, but, well, whatever, I’m an atheist so anyway…”
I tried to continue telling my story but the guy would have none of it.
“Waaaaait a minute. You don’t get to say something like ‘i’m an atheist and think I’m going to let it go. You know I’m a big Christian, right?”
“And I can let that go! For the purposes of this conversation.”
“Oh, can you? Well, I’m going to worry about you now…being an atheist…”
“No need, really. Also, I’m just trying to be out. We’re trying to that now…be out and shit. So, yeah, I’m an atheist and I don’t really feel like being saved.”
“Well, I was raised in the church, so…”
And that was basically the end of the conversation. It was strangely undramatic, and I suppose having a Christian worry about my soul is better than just hating me. As we have discussed, worrying about an atheist’s soul shows way more actual belief and commitment to a the theoretical message of Jesus than saying “man oh man, I can’t wait for the revelation, ’cause fuck all of ya!”
But I suddenly found myself wanting to come clean about everything. Polyamory, burlesque, my utter disdain for religions as a whole. I gave him a giant speech about the insidious nature of sexism and racism in the world today and how he as a white, Christian, wealthy(ish) man can not possibly understand what it’s like to walk the Earth as anything else. He said something about black people as a whole being more prejudiced than whites today and that things are so much better than they were and I actually said, “That’s privilege talking. Just because black and white people can sit in a diner together and not murder each other, just because no one is turning a high pressure hose on a black person having the audacity to want a sip of water at the wrong fountain anymore does NOT mean racism is dead. Just like the fact that I’m a chemist doesn’t mean I don’t encounter weird episodes of sexism on a stupidly regular occassion.”
One thing is for certain: I am not only out as an atheist, but also as a thinking, intelligent person who is slowly but surely attempting to fully extract my head from my ass. I hope that everyone starts to list this as a goal in life.
More wine, dagnabbit!
2 thoughts on “Oh, If They Only Knew”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of us could talk about who we really are and not have to fear scorn or pity or disdain? I envy you that moment of saying you were an atheist. I have to continue to hide that for various reasons.
I had a conversation similar to the one you had with your traveling partner about how black people are more prejudice. And in that conversation I had to explain that there really isn’t any such thing as reverse racism. No really.
More wine, indeed.
I ended up having a two hour long discussion with a stranger on the plane home (after two glasses of wine) that covered a whole range of subjects. I mentioned something about atheism and then he said, “Oh, well we can still be friends.” I thought I was in for it, but in the end I think he was pretty happy to have met someone who thinks about things. He ended up taking the information for my husband’s law firm because he said that he was working on his will and wanted to be able to give to Planned Parenthood and didn’t trust the lawyer he had through the church. Progress!
I’ve been lucky in the people I have chosen to give this information to and it certainly gives me confidence to continue to be out, but it still scares me sometimes too.
Thanks for the comment!
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