I live in the section of Montreal near McGill University. There are lots of college kids around. Right now it’s finals and the 2nd Cup is jammed full of kids studying. I’m parked at my little table in a row of other little tables, all of them full except for the one to my left. It has a textbook placed on its far edge and a slim sheaf of papers placed atop the textbook. During the past hour four different people have tried to park themselves at the table. Each time the girl sitting one table over has told them no, “somebody’s sitting there.” But there isn’t. Her friend, who had been there, took off to print something at home and so far has not returned. As mentioned, the coffee shop is jammed and, like the missing girl, the people who want to sit down are students frantic to get ready for big tests.

It amazes me how young women feel entitled to pull stunts like this. I’ve seen them try it at the gym too: “I’ll just wrap my sweater around the handles of this elliptical machine and come back in 20 minutes, and meanwhile Monica will tell all comers ‘somebody’s using the machine.'” My theory is that men don’t go in for such wanton abuses of “saving” because they’re afraid someone will hit them. 
UPDATE:  A fifth character just got turned away. Agitated, I leaned over to the friend and said, “I’ve got to say, this is getting to be a bit unfair.”
The friend: “I know, I know. I agree. I’ll call her.” She gets out her cell phone. So maybe western civilization is safe after all.
UPDATE:  The girl is back. To her friend: “Sorrryyy. Oh, sorrryyyy.” She has one of those lockjaw drawls.

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