Illustration: Pierre Le-Tan
Q: Lately, at my local coffee shop, people with laptops take over whole tables. When it was really crowded, I tried to sit at a table with a guy at his computer, and he angrily told me I was interrupting his work. Was I?
A: "Here is the polite and foolproof protocol: Before you sit down, say, 'Excuse me, is this seat taken?' The workaholic table hog will have to say no and make room for you and your latte. (This also works on crowded trains.)"
— Anita L. Allen, professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School