On the platform for the train from New Jersey into Philadelphia, there were four or five people, one of whom made more noise than the rest combined. He was yammering loudly into his cell phone about how wasted he’d gotten the previous night, in fairly unpleasant detail. When we got on the train, with his American Eagle bag and snowstorm-inappropriate sweatshirt and sandals, he took a seat opposite from me and cranked his iPod up high enough that one more knowledgeable of the genre than I could have identified the thrash-rock he was listening to.

But there is some poetic justice in this universe. He just leaned behind him and asked another passenger, “Does this train go to Atlantic City?”