At the American Atheists conference I was scheduled to speak at the costume dinner (which had a price tag of
$200 $50 to get in, I believe). All day on twitter people were wondering if people who didn’t pay for the dinner could get in to see my talk. Dave Silverman, who freaking rules, saw it and said the doors would open after dinner. Seriously, Silverman gets it.
The dinner had all the celebrities present and people vying for their time. Seemed like someone should go out and keep the waiters company, so I did. At first it was about ten people waiting. I gave them a sneak peak at a part of my talk, answered some questions, sang a bit for them, and then entertained with magic. Jessica Ahlquist came by too and started talking to the fans who couldn’t get into the dinner. After a bit there was about fifty people gathered around.
Here’s a pic, courtesy of the good peeps at JesusFajitaFishsticks.
Sophia Hernandez shot this video of me doing magic and goofing around. (video below the fold)
I loved getting to hang with everybody out in the hall. It felt…honest? It was just comfortable, with everybody hanging around having fun. I thanked the crowd for what they did.
Eventually they opened the doors and decided to move my talk and the awards into the main hall. Before I got up, the crowd was chanting my name and screaming that they loved me. Who would have ever thought something like that would happen in my life?
As long as I have a career or any prominence in this movement, I want it to be like that. I want people to be able to approach me comfortably. I want to feel like I belong more in the crowd more than I belong on stage. The flattery is nice, I won’t lie, but I never want to let it convince me that I’m not an equal part of this movement with everybody else – even if my role/skill set puts me on a stage from time to time.
You guys are the best. I called my parents that night and told them what a great feeling it was to be around so many happy atheists and how flattered I was at your expressions of affection/gratitude. I love you right back.