A woman reading a book raises a gaze of exasperated woe. Next to her is a dude whose one-sided babble runs something like this: “Nah, ain’ fuckin’ that bitch no mo’…Crazy-ass bitch be fuckin’ Shafon, now, man…Yeh…Yeh…Fuck that fuckin’ shit—I told the bitch I wanted her to have my baby…” With impregnation all the rage as a show of potency these days, I’ve no doubt this lively, autochthonous vernacular will live on. And having once been young, I also know the pleasures of gratuitous obscenity. I’ve just never known the pleasures of being overheard. Yet, looking around at the twenty-five percent of bus riders talking on cell phones, I realize that they’re not in it to be overheard; they’re in it to escape. If they gave a damn about the audience, they’d heed the deadpan glares around them, and ask, “Are these people annoyed?” But they don’t give a damn because they’ve opted to be preoccupied with someone somewhere else—someone with whom they are, miracle of nonplussing miracles, gabbing.