The TSA has clearly adopted a newer, friendlier protocol.
When checking ID, the agents now look at you, call you by name and engage in cheery, one-way small talk. On the upside, it’s a lot more pleasant than the old, quasi-military approach. It’s also doubtlessly more effective. It breaks up the tedium of checking ID for hours and demands the agents pay careful attention to both the documents and the passengers. On the downside, it’s a bit unsettling. Because why are you talking to me? We are not friends. You are in uniform and I have a chip on my shoulder about authority.
(Also, Lady TSA agent, it’s really awkward when you’re trying to flirt with me while your buddy is patting down some very sensitive areas. I mean, I appreciate the love from both directions, but I’m fuzzy on the social protocols.)