VERY INTERESTING. I am watching it happen to me. They have put me in this little office, this half-completed little office some of whose walls are still missing and so people just walk right through. At first, it did not matter. They did not walk close anyway, no closer to my desk than before I got this little office, but slowly it began to matter and soon the territorial imperative started to take over. I fear I will bite someone.

Very interesting how we are like animals in this way. Some workmen staked out my territory in steel braces that will hold the still-missing walls, and I suddenly have territory I want others to respect. I watch myself starting to get bothered about the people cutting through and I smile because I recognized it coming on. It's a variation of parking space insanity.

For a time, I thought only I had parking space insanity which, at its most extreme, means you will fight to the death in the middle of the night four guys who have parked their van in your reserved parking space. This is sick, not to mention dangerous, and I knew it all the time I was doing it. I handled it by saying nothing to anyone about it.

We lived in an apartment house then and we paid for our space and sometimes when we got home there would be a car parked in it. Always I would block the car with my car and then always I would have to wait for the driver of the other car so I could let him out. I thought of slashing his tires, but that would mean he would not leave, or pasting stuff on his windshield, but that would mean he could not leave, either. What I wanted, really, was to confront the guy. I mean, the nerve!

Parking space insanity cost me a lot of sleep. I used to sit on the floor, my head on the window sill, watching the parking space below. Sometimes I would get into bed, sleeping lightly, jumping to my feet whenever a car started up below. My wife would point out, in her rational way, that there were empty spaces on the street and that I should move the car and go to sleep. That was not the point. The point was that someone parked in my spot. Growl!

One night, I nearly fought four guys -- the ones in the van. Another night, someone got into his car and rammed into mine, sending it spinning out of the way. I gave chase, finally cornering the guy about a mile away and had someone call the police. It was winter and I was dressed only in a T-shirt and pants, but I waited for the police. And then insisted on an arrest for leaving the scene of an accident (which means nothing to me) and a ticket for parking on private property (the heart of the matter). The cop looked at me, shivering in my T-shirt, as if I was crazy. It made me think.

After a while, the cops got to know me. I was always calling them to ticket cars parked in my space. One day, I had them ticket a car driven by Barry Goldwater. The cop was still writing the ticket when Goldwater showed up and the poor officer almost had apoplexy. In Washington, you do not ticket the cars of senior senators.

My close friends began to learn of my parking space insanity. Some of them, to my surprise, understood. They told me their own stories -- some of them having to do with spaces assigned to them at work. I thought of forming a group -- Parking Space Anoymous. One friend was judgmental. He did not have a car, not to mention a reserved space. Now he has both. Now he is a raving lunatic about his parking space.

Why this is, I don't know. There is something basic about it -- in the genes or something, I think. Something to do with private property. If Marx had had a reserved space outside the British Museum, he would have wound up a writer for Time magazine. Maybe not. Maybe it's just an American disease. Certainly it's out of control in suburban Virginia, where they have a lot of high-rise apartment houses. There, all you have to do is slow down and the building calls a tow truck. People have proposed laws. Laws can not regulate this. It is basic. It is in the beast.

Parking space insanity applies, even to spaces that are not your own, like the ones you spot on the street. The closer you get to it, the more you think it's yours and when you're within one car length, the wolf in you says it's your territory. Should some other car slip into that space while you're preparing to back in, war is the result. Normal people will fight in a situation like this. Only abnormal people will let it roll off their back.

Where I live now, I park behind the house.No one ever parks there. Sometimes, though, they park in the spaces reserved for neighbors. For a time, this did not bother me but now it does. I know it should not. I know this is not my property. I have talked this over with myself I know this is a serious case of parking space insanity. I started to mention it to a colleague but he cut me off and told me that if someone persists in parking in his reserved spot here at work, he's going to do something. It has to do with territory, I think.

Someone just walked through my office. I still try to pretend it's funny. For a while, I joked. "Just play through," I said. Ha ha. I pretended not to care. They kept coming. It's starting to get to me. I am watching it happen. Very interesting. I hope no editors come through.

I fear I will bite someone.