When one guy takes up three seats because he can't keep his legs together, it's your duty to push back. If he's obese, that's one thing - he probably feels like a misfit, and it's not as though he can drop 50 pounds on the spot. But when he's small or skinny, that's different. One man, one seat. That's the rule. And you're the enforcer. On Thursday I put this belief to the test when sitting next to an elderly man at the opening of a play. The theater was filling up, and his left leg was splayed all over the last seat in the row. I asked if the seat was taken, sat down, put my leg up against his and kept it there in a polite but insistent way. There was a silent struggle for a minute or two until he withdrew to his own territory. He intruded a couple of times during the first act, but I stood my ground. After the intermission my wife and I moved to better seats when the folks in front of us left.
After the play I mentioned this epic struggle to my wife. And she said, "Did you notice that you were sitting next to Ian McKellen?I looked up and there he was, coming out of the theater. Gandolf. Magneto. The new Number Two. I felt a chill. Even without his staff, he could have summoned lightning with a single thought. Thank God it wasn't Saruman or Professor Xavier who was trying to take up two seats. I wouldn't be here to write this.