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“Atheist” =/= “Alien” October 10, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, friends, issues.
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14 comments

The workplace gives me a good bird’s eye view of how people in my country see atheists. There’s the weird “I was gonna tell you something but now I’m not because you might get offended” reaction, for one. And lately I’ve been more open about religion to more people. Luckily, the reaction’s not Bible Belt bad, it’s just an amusing sort of cluelessness. “What is this strange creature they call ‘atheist’?”

Gary (whom I now find really annoying and creepy): “Did you hear about the — oh wait, you’re an atheist…”
TA: “Dude, we’re not hateful misanthropes who can’t take a joke. I like Altar Boyz and the occasional Lifehouse song, and Judd Apatow anti-Semitism references. People act so weird around you once they know you’re an atheist.”
George (nebbish guy that I’m sort of crushing on): “You’re an atheist, TA?”
TA: “Er, yeah. You scared?”
George: “No, I just didn’t know.”
Anne: “Ah, your religion is atheist?” (to others) “Hey, TA’s religion is atheist!”

Like bald is a hair color, as many would say.

TA: “Just tell the damn joke already. I’m not easily offended.”
Gary: “So, there’s this very smart, atheist professor, who would challenge his class with arguments about how God does not exist…”
TA: (tries hard not to groan) “Does this involve a piece of chalk and whether or not it breaks?”
Gary: “Well, it’s an egg…”

Again, I’m not easily offended, but he had to pick the one joke that specifically targeted my beliefs and claimed that some stupid coincidence disproves everything I believe in? Somebody hand this guy the Idiot’s Guide to Interacting with People.

Bern: “Yeah, my girl and I are having some issues, especially when it comes to religion.” (note: he’s Catholic, she’s…some smaller sect of Christianity)
TA: “Heh, you said it. It’s doubly hard for people like me.”
Bern: “Why, what religion are you?”
TA: “I’m an atheist, actually.”
Bern: “Oh! Where’s your church located?”

So yeah, sometimes it’s easier to just not bother bringing it up, because it gets fairly tedious to have to spell everything out for everybody.

It still beats the Bible Belt, though. Better cluelessness than bigotry and hatred.

By the way, did I mention that Gary is really annoying and creepy? Have you ever experienced having a friend of the opposite sex, who you really want to tell to stop fucking touching you, but you can’t because you don’t wanna make it weird? I mean, it’s not like they’re caressing your tits or anything, but the constant touches on the shoulder or forearm, or high-fives are beginning to seriously piss you off because you’re just not a touchy-feely kind of person, except when it’s a serious, crying-your-eyes-out issue, or if it’s from someone you dig (like when George touches my hair, I totally don’t mind).

Luckily, Gary’s quitting next month, so I just have to keep my distance for a little longer.

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Varying degrees of condescension March 3, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, issues, rants, teen angst.
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24 comments

This is steadily rocketing up to the top of my Statements That Annoy Me the Most list, simply because I hear it almost every single fucking day now from various co-workers:

You’ll understand when you’re older.

Like when I told Gina, 34, that I was planning on being one of those never-gonna-get-married types, like Oprah or Susan Sarandon. “You’re still young, you’ll understand the importance of settling down and getting married when you’re older.” Or when I told Stella, 45, that I loved this job too much to quit and go back to college like everyone else (her included) tells me to. “You’re still young, you’ll understand the importance of education when you’re older.” (I get it just fine, retard, I just want to get used to my job first and then go back to college when I feel ready.) And I’m the only one in the office who gets this crap thrown at me, because I’m apparently the wunderkind there. Whenever I’m introduced by co-workers to new people, it’s never just “This is my officemate, TA.” It always, always has to be, “This is my officemate, TA. She’s only 18!”

I wouldn’t even be entirely surprised if I profess to being an atheist and somebody replies, in that preachy, sanctimonious way that I hate so very much, “You’re still young, you’ll realize the existence of God when you’re older.”

It’s like 18-year-olds are completely incapable of making their own huge-ass decisions. These moments just make me want to stand on my desk and scream, “I’m eighteen, not fucking five!”

This is why I felt a little sad about having to cross Carl off my list of friends; even though he was kind of annoying anyway, he was one of the few people who treated me like an equal, not some little kid who needed wiser, older people to show her the ways of the world.

It all goes back to what I said before: Patronize us, and we’ll be equally patronizing right back at you. Make us feel smart, and we’ll take everything you say to heart.

Then again, maybe it’s just my hyper-bloated ego? I mean, I feel like I’m ten times smarter than these assholes, anyway (dude, Annie’s 27 and acts like she’s 12, and even she gives me that “when you’re older” horse shit), and they just feel the need to be all preachy with me because they want to make themselves feel superior to someone. Hell, I even think I’m smarter than my parents, so there you go.

I mean, do my co-workers also expect me to address them as “Ma’am” and “Sir” just because they’ve got ten years on me? (Our company has a “First name basis” policy, which also applies when talking to to superiors.) As long as Dipshit McFuckface and I are working in the same position, doing the same things for the same amount of money, he has no right to expect special treatment from me. It’s ageist. (Not that I’m not ageist myself, but anyway.)

Mind you, this little problem is not driving me to the brink, though. Yet. I’m perfectly willing to suffer the crap, if only for the equal amount of “Wow, you must be really smart then!” comments I get from people. Because like I said, I have a ginormous ego.