The male ego is a wondrous thing. No one can explain quite how or even why it functions. It's just something that has evolved and grown over the years along with larger brains and the opposable thumb.
The quest to become the alpha male has been one that transcends age, species, geography, race, colour and any other criteria for differentiation except for that of sex. We men indulge in our own little competitions every day, most times, without even being aware of it.
Just yesterday I found myself in the most interesting little battle with the guy sitting next to me in the bus from Mangalore to Bangalore. First of all, this dude steals my seat. He sat next to the window, which was actually the seat that had been assigned to me. But this being a win-win situation (since I prefer the aisle seat), I let things be. But what got to me, strange as it may seem, was that he was intruding into my leg space. Since the combined effects of evolution and civilization have denied us the traditional mechanism of "territorial pissing" (in the words of the late Mr Cobain),the bus makers have , in the design of the seats themselves, clearly defined a demarcation between the section of leg room that was his, and the space that was for me. And what does this man do? He placed his right foot right on top of the divider, allowing a centimeter or two of his foot to enter into my "territory".
He had just violated the most basic of all animal rules. Respect thy neighbour's space! Since I had disarmed myself (read taken off my shoes for a nice night of sleep), I could not nudge his foot out of the way. Had I chosen this particular method to try and win back my honour and prestige, he might just get the wrong idea!
So left with no other option, other than telling him to get his "#%#$@@$ leg outa my space!!", which would seem silly, I temporarily resigned to the fact that he had won this battle. But the war would be mine.
And that was when I noticed that the mother of all disputed territories; which people fight over at home, in school, at colleges, at theatres and at any place where there are two seats next to each other; the 'armrest' had not been pulled down and claimed.
Before he could realise it, I struck my deadly blow. I pulled down the armrest, and claimed it for myself! Hence forcing him to shrug his shoulders in shame and defeat, while I sat like a king...on my throne, both arms properly rested, even though my legs were denied the freedom they yearned.
Soon, that as mine as well. Once I was sure he was not distracted on the phone or any other media, I looked down at his foot, let out an irritated "tsk" and stared at him, forcing him to retreat in haste, surrending the few centimeters of lef space he had earlier captured. Victory was mine.
I slept in peace,my male ego satisfied.
I would remain forever, the irritating dude who sat next to the poor chap who had no leg space because his bag was under his seat.