Around St. Patrick's Day I was wearing a T-shirt that said "Irish" and I was talking to a neighbor who is Irish Catholic about a certain neighborhood situation and she recommending praying him away and I responded that I do not pray, and then my wife chimed in that I am an atheist.
I do consider myself lucky because religion doesn't come up a lot in my circle of friends.
That's why I always identify myself as an atheist if the topic comes up--so people who did not know that about me and consider me a "normal" person (whatever the he** that means!) will see that being atheist does not mean horns and hooves. In fact, sometimes I wish the subject would come up more often--like at work, for instance, where everybody else is SO darn relilgious, and their cubicles are full of religious pictures and knick knacks. I long to put a Darwin fish and an atheist symbol on my filing cabinet, but have not gone that far just yet. But I might still do it--and if anybody complains to HR, I will point out all the crosses and religious statues and pictures around others' desks.
I a few parts of this country and in some countries atheists are not considered to be evil.