I get on the train every day. And sit down with my duffel on my lap. I sit next to someone or I scooch in and leave the aisle seat for someone else. Everyone does the same. Or nearly everyone.
Nearly every day, I see the same people (or the same kinds of people) taking up two seats. They’ll set their pack or duffel on the seat next to them and spread out like they own the place. Some will sit and cross their legs sharply — foot stuck half into the space of the other seat. Meant to intimidate – don’t sit there or I’ll wipe my foot on your pants/skirt. Hordes of people get on the train. All looking for seats. And the few seat hogs will protect their space until someone asks — usually politely — may I sit here? Seat hogs will scowl. Huff and puff. But usually pull their “stuff” and pile it in their laps. Though there are the occasional whiners who refer to their bag and complain “I can’t put that in my lap!” And then there are the crafty ones – who start out sitting in the aisle seat. When one observant enough to see the window seat is unoccupied asks for the person to move, the seat hog gets up and insists the newby take the window as if to say “I’m in control. That’ll show him/her.”
I’ve done an informal study over the years of the seat hogs by looking at what seat hogs are reading. Nearly all are reading cases, briefs, arguments and such. Lawyers. The men – often doffed in suits – and the occasional women (adorned for court) — are lawyers. There’s not much push back against the seat hogs though the conductors (bless ’em) will frequently admonish the assembled over the intercom to “be courteous” and “not take up two seats.” Just one more reason to give lawyers a bad name. . . . .