"Next!"

I’ve discovered that I’m desperately dependent on getting along with people. Okay, didn’t just “discover” – I’ve known it practically forever. But constantly reminded. The TSA agent barking orders to passengers in the security line at SFO:

“Next!”

I smile and give her my best, sweetest “Good morning!” She doesn’t look up, but holds an impatient hand out for the passport and boarding pass I’m holding ready for her. Clearly not close enough, though, and she’s not going to meet me halfway.

She examines the passport as though it’s a “Pleeze-let-Timmy-leave-skool-erly” note written in a child’s scrawl, then slowly raises her eyes to check me out. I take the opportunity to give her my favorite smile. She frowns.

“Remove your hat.”

“I’m sorry?”

More slowly, with a little less patience this time: “Remove your hat.”

“Uh, okay…” Not that my passport photo shows my rapidly thinning pate, but the smile and cheery voice just aren’t going to connect with this woman. I tip the cloth fedora into my hand and dip my head slightly so she can examine what it was concealing: the top of my head. Perhaps I’ll get a “thank you”?

No, of course not – she thusts the documents out and looks past me to the line.

“Next!”

I tell myself that somewhere in the TSA’s book, there must be a section claiming that people feel more secure if you’re rude to them.

But there is the TSA guy at the United line: “Okay, lissen up! All electronics must go through separately – blackberries, blueberries, raspberries. Please remove any small children from your luggage…” It’s got to take an immense amount of energy to keep that up all day, but boy does it make a difference.

Anyway. I’m through with our friendly TSA for the morning, so let’s let that go. Northbound again, to Vancouver. Third time this year, I think?

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