After returning to the US for the first time in a month, the contrast to my time abroad was stark. The warmth and respect I had become accustomed to was replaced with an icy cold air of contempt. Everyone seemed guarded, keeping others at a distance.
The first employee I interacted to was an abrasive African, who struggled to articulate a response to my request for directions. After that, it was the Muslim girl with the headscarf at security, followed by the accented Asian kid directing the human horde into its correct in-processing lane.
Then, my encounter with a CBP Agent; some short-haired white woman with a scowl. She walked right past the sith-lord looking Muslim bitch, dressed from head to toe in her sinister burka costume, to confront me, the clean-cut conservative looking white guy with no visible tattoos, piercings or other bodily mutilations.
“So, you’ve been in [redacted] for a month. Why did you go there?” she asked, her eyes narrowed.
“What do you do for a living?”
“Interesting. That’s a lot of time to take off work.” She said, again her voice accusatory.
She asked a few more probing questions before finally ending her interrogation, moving on to the next all-American looking suspect she could find.
I arrived at the final counter.
“Why don’t you put your phone away so we can do this.” Said the plumb shitlib looking turd behind the counter. My phone was off, held under my passport. It (I couldn’t tell the gender. Either a fat white man or a butch lesbian) asked me some more loaded questions before it completed wasting my time.
Before my most recent trip, I don’t think I would have noticed any of this. Like so many, I would have just continued walking, building up that cold protective demeanor. But that’s what travel does: it outlines all the nuances and minute details you would otherwise take for granted as normative.
I walked out into the crisp winter air, heavy with a numb sense of disgust.