I am a rules-based person, and I often try to convert my observations into independently confirmed laws of nature. The rules don't make much sense, but their effects are repeated in the real world enough times to make me feel like some kind of half-baked Isaac Newton.
One of my oldest rules concerns what I call "The K-Mart Effect." The rule gets that name because the effect was first observed in a K-Mart parking lot. Briefly stated, the effect follows a simple rule: "If you park a car in an empty parking lot, the next car will park as close as it can to your car."
Observe this example, noted at the Shirley, Massachusetts Town Hall parking lot just yesterday:
The driver of the first car at left parked far from many parking places that were closer to the town hall. The driver backed into the slot next to the parking lot's Island of Two Trees. Not more than 10 minutes later, a second car arrived, sweeping around the island, and pulling up directly parallel to the first car. There are at least a half-dozen spots closer to the front door of the town hall (out of sight, around the left corner of the building in the background) but it was imperative to the driver of the car at right to sidle up to the passenger side of the first car.
Maybe this was an isolated event for this parking lot, right? Let's repeat the experiment, this time with my Toyota Tacoma truck. I'll park THREE spaces from the town library (just outside the picture to the left).
... and not more than 30 seconds elapse before a woman in a red sports car zips up so close to my passenger door, it's nearly impossible to get out from that side of my truck. Please note the EMPTY PARKING SPACES to the left (car's right) of the picture. That space is IMMEDIATELY next to the library. It's not a handicapped space, it's not blocked by anything, and it's actually as close as one can park to the library in this parking lot. WHY do people have to park ear-to-ear with cars in an otherwise empty lot?
My theory is that there is some sort of social capillary action that draws people in range of other people. They look for a community to join, and head for the most likely place for interaction. Maybe it's a pack instinct, or some kind of innate security about strength in numbers, or something else buried deep in our collective psyches. Whatever it is, it's annoying as hell.