Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sociopaths at the Airport

Recently someone was telling me about her neighbor, whom she described as having “sociopathic tendencies.” I wouldn’t want someone who didn’t know me very well saying I had sociopathic tendencies, so I offered, “Maybe he was just having a bad day.”

She rejected my suggestion and clarified that he had only tendencies, like a lot of people, but that didn’t make him a true without-a-doubt sociopath. I wondered if perhaps she was overanalyzing some small incident with the neighbor, but I let the matter lie.

Without any training in psychology, I believed I could not accurately identify sociopathic tendencies, but that was before I went through the hand-baggage check line tonight at the Doha Airport. An airport employee was aggressively gesticulating, yelling at other employees and demanding that passengers take items out of their carryon luggage. It felt more like I was going through a cattle maze than a civilized airport procedure.

I asked the sociopath – er, man -- why he was so angry and he shouted at me, “This is none of your business!” I asked for his name and he flicked his name badge in my face, saying, “My name’s Mohammed. Go complain about me.” I made sure I got his last name and complain is exactly what I did.

I’ve heard from people who have had to identify a perpetrator in a police lineup that there was something unimaginably cold and devoid of human emotion in his face. Sometimes the sign that something’s wrong is hidden behind the eyes, sometimes it’s in offensive behavior for all to see.

Anyway, perhaps the airport employee really was just having a bad day and taking it out on me and everyone else. Or maybe he has sociopathic tendencies. Or maybe it was just another typical day at the airport.

I have to board my flight now. Until next time.