Now for the post proper.
So Jason and I woke up on Saturday and then putzed around for a while and then finally drove out to the Shady Grove end of the red line for the Metro. We got there around 10am, two hours before the event started. We knew the trip in on the Metro was about an hour, so we figured we'd have a little time to find the folks I was planning to meet. I knew we probably wouldn't get near the stage, but that was okay. Just being on the mall at all was going to be ridiculously awesome.
We ended up spending two plus hours in line at the Metro station. It was cool though, as we got a chance to talk with the folks in line with us. I absolutely love chatting with strangers in those kinds of situations. The excitement of being a part of something bigger than you is always fun, regardless of the venue, so even though it was pretty chilly and we had to stand in line knowing we were going to be late to the rally, everyone was in a really good mood. Lots of laughing and joking around. Same on the Metro. We were packed in pretty dang tight and we were late, but everyone just had a good time. Lots of smiles and stories shared.
When we finally got onto the street in DC, it was crazy. People absolutely everywhere. The rally started at noon and we got there around 1:30pm and the street was completely packed. We got close to the fence at one point, but honestly, we couldn't hear or see anything that was going on at the main event. It was absolute chaos (funny, for a rally for sanity). But even amidst that, people were really polite. No shoving or angry words, just a lot of looking around, pointing out funny signs, and happiness that so many people were there to celebrate rational discussion.
After the rally, Jason and I attended an atheist/humanist dinner at the Lauriol Plaza Restaurant. I did get to meet Hemant Mehta there, which was quite nice (and I got a pic to prove that we are now totally bffs even in real life, not just the internets!). Of course, he totally outed me at my table by asking how it was having dinner with 200 atheists, but that's okay. Jason and I were able to have a very nice discussion with our table-mates and I really enjoyed that. Being able to say, "I think your beliefs are just wrong or wacky, but you're still a nice person and I like talking to you," is pretty awesome.
So here are some of my pros and cons from the event:
Con: Not getting to meet Katie, Crystal or Mindy.
Pro: More time with the hubs. (But I'm still bummed about that first part.)
Con: Because more people showed up than expected, there were not enough port-a-potties for the crowd.
Pro: The Smithsonian Museums are open to the public and have lovely restroom facilities.
Pro: I don't think anyone pooped on the mall.
Con: Being on the entirely wrong end of 18th Street when trying to get to dinner.
Pro: Still got there in plenty of time to get a table and to enjoy both a delicious meal and an interesting conversation.
Con: I completely forgot to make up signs for the rally with a witty slogan.
Pro: Carrying blank signs and saying, "Our message is whatever you want it to be," was incredibly popular with the folks who saw us.
Con: Crowd caused me to entirely miss the whole event.
Pro: Massive turn-out of people for the purpose of rational dialog.
Were you at the rally? Have you been to another rally? Tell me your rally experiences!
Oh, and if you haven't voted yet, go do that. Please?