It somehow looks like there is a default p.style applied and this one has a huge right-hand indent. Check it.
Its not dude... Try it for yourself. I build that example from a blank doc no new paragraph styles or overrides.
My hypothisis is this:
The variable tag for a page number <pageNum />
I rekon this is an oversight by Adobe and they have made the minimum size of a variable the size its tag.
You could be right. A page number marker special character requires space for 3 digits in a text frame to show up, even when the pages are all single digits.
This is very frustrating!!! Can anybody tell me why this is happening and how I can fix it?
No, and yes.
No, I have no idea why the normal paragraph composer does this. I've reported it as a bug in the past.
Yes, if you switch to the World-Ready Composer, the bug goes away - the WRC doesn't have this bug. Seems like the normal paragraph composer thinks of the variable as longer than it really is, while the WRC doesn't have this problem.
I should mention that the World-Ready Composer will only be easy to turn on if you're using CS6 or CC. Otherwise you'd need a script, or a plugin, because it's "under the hood' and there' s no UI toggle for it in CS4 through CS5.5.
Do you have the bug reference so that I can also report it?