Spending the last month with an extra job has been no picnic. But last Friday it all came to fruition, with Richard Dawkins’ visit to San Diego, on of all days, Good Friday. The event was a great success and everyone I spoke to enjoyed themselves and had a great time. There were a few snags, but most of it went off according to plan, and I was pleased with the results.
I arrived to Golden Hall extra early, to help with the final setup and to get ready for the evening. I spoke with the venue manager when I arrived and he mentioned that he had been taking calls all day about the availability of tickets. I thought it was ironic that people found his phone number, but were unable to find the website for the event that mentioned when tickets would be on sale. I set to label all of the front row seats following the seating chart that I had designed.
Once that was done, there were a few other things that required my attention, then I took a few minutes to grab some food at the bar next door. We were called back because there some small fires to put out regarding the tables, and then all hell began to break loose. People starting showing up as early as 3:30PM to buy tickets, and we were constantly turning people away until 4:30PM. Once 4:00PM arrived, there was a table setup outside the venue to process tickets and at 4:30PM the doors opened and people showed up en mass. The ticket lines were a bit chaotic at times, but there was some entertainment provided in the form of some protestors with various signs decrying atheists. One sign even read, “Richard Dawkins is the Jerry Springer of Atheism”. I chuckled when I read that one and called out to the protestors how it was a shame that they were wasting their time on a beautiful Friday Afternoon protesting at the event.
Around 6:30PM I secured the box office and let my volunteer force take their seats inside the venue, where the speakers had already started. I split the next two hours between checking inside and standing out by the doors talking with the security from [red shirt]. They were a good group of guys, and I look forward to workign with them in the future.
After the speakers were done, there was some time for questions. There were a few people who wanted to waste Richard Dawkins’ time with theological statements and requests for him to consider his position and come to accept Jesus. Others asked thoughtful questions. I feel sorry for the ones that were there to waste our time, because it’s sad that’s all they had to do that day. Shouldn’t they have been out feeding the homeless or being good christians out in the world? Hell, shouldn’t they have been at church? It was Good Friday after all.
Next came the book signing. Once started, the line began on the left of the stage, and wound around the perimeter of the venue, all the way to the back and then up the right side of the building. It seemed to go on forever. One person sitting in the front area asked if we were going to let the folks in the front row cut the line to get in earlier. When we told him no, he was upset. Hey buddy, you knew there was going to be a book signing, you should have prepared yourself for the line and stood up sooner.
Finally everything was coming to a close and all the folks with tables packed everything up and headed home. From the people I talked to, each enjoyed the event immensely and thanked us for the work we accomplished in putting it together. Then I rushed to grab my things and head out the door, the night’s receipts in my bag.
After getting lost a few times, I arrived in Mission Bay for the private reception for Richard Dawkins and the other speakers that night. I had an opportunity to sit with Richard Dawkins and have him sign two of my books, The God Delusion (first edition) and The Magic of Reality. The latter I asked to have him dedicate it to my daughter Emily.
I’m very pleased with the way everything turned out, and I’m very proud to have been a part of the event and everything that came with it. It was a excellent turnout and made the secular society more apparent for those living in San Diego.