Some quick background: i travel about twice a year, mostly international, in particular, to Asia. I was born and raised in the USA. I’m early middle-aged. I’m also a college professor.
Many of the TSA agents are mean assholes. There’s no other way to put it.
1. Just recently a TSA agent yelled at me, “MOVE FORWARD” like an unruly kid-bully in the lunchline at Elementary School. Apparently, he was waving his hand to motion me through. Problem was that he was waving his hand behind the X-ray machine. I don’t have X-ray vision, and neither does anyone else. Of course, he thinks it’s my problem, not his.
2. Another time, a few weeks before that, a TSA agent yells at me and a bunch of other people in line to not put our bags in a tray. Of course, he yells it rudely. And then he says “F*CK, I don’t know why everyone is putting their bags in trays when they’re not supposed to!!!”. I say “It’s probably because people don’t know”. He then turns and comes up to me, like an idiot half-wite meathead at a bar “What did you say to me???” I repeated myself: “I said: It’s probably because they don’t know that they’re not supposed to”. He then backs away and said “I’m yelling it over and over again, how can they not know?” I then say “Okay, either they hear you, listen to you, but consciously think “I don’t want to listen to that guy – I’d rather actually do exactly the opposite of what he’s saying. OR they don’t hear you because they’re trying to take off their shoes, belts, take out there laptops, jackets, etc. It’s hard to do that…”. He then says “People can’t follow directions, get back in line!!!” I say “Yes, that’s right, everyone’s not following SIMPLE directions, so the best explanation is that you’re smarter than everyone else, and everyone is just plane stupid.” He looks at me but I go through the scanner.
3. Another time, few weeks before that (this is at an airport in Nor Cal), a TSA agent yells at me for not taking everything out of my laptop sleeve, which I put in a separate tray container from my laptop. He says it very rudely: “Did you take everything out of your laptop sleeve?” I say “No”, since I left the power supply cord and mouse in it. “Do you not know how to follow directions? Take it all out!” I tell him: The sign right over there says ‘Take laptop out of the bag’. It says nothing about taking the laptop and everything else out of the bag. So, yes, i am following directions.” He says to me “What did you say?” I point to the sign and start to speak and he says “Move you’re holding up the line!”
Clearly, these TSA agents are unhappy with their lives and incredibly disgruntled. I feel for them. However, that explains why they’re assholes, but doesn’t excuse it. I was incredibly surprised by the lack of minimal intelligence in them – they were the type of people that would blame everyone rather than being reflective enough to realize that the problem lies with them and their system, especially if so many are having trouble (as they allege).