On the train this morning, I was trying to read an article about recent research on adolescent brain development. In a seat somewhere behind me, a cell phone rang. A woman answered the phone. “I’m going to change my phone number,” she said, “I’m serious. I don’t want to talk with you any more. I’m done with you.” It sounded as though this woman had just dumped a man, someone she thought of as no good. “I go off to work, and you just go out on the streets, having fun, getting drugs, doing whatever. I sick and tired of it.” She talked to him for a while, then ended the conversation — I was cheering her on in my mind, even though I was only hearing her side of the conversation, even though I didn’t know either one of them. A minute after she ended the conversation, her phone rang again. She delayed picking it up, but at last she answered. She was less polite to him this time. After a short time, she ended the call. A moment later, her phone rang again. Don’t answer it, I said to myself. She answered it, but barely let him get a word in edgewise. At last she told him why his mother didn’t want him around either: “That’s why she doesn’t want you there, you’re always disrespecting her, if you can’t respect your mom, I don’t want to deal you. Good bye.” She hung up. Her cell phone rang again. She talked to him, and ended the call quickly. By this time, I was just tuning out the conversation — she had to know that you can’t have a private conversation on the train, but I still didn’t want to listen. I’d guess that her cell phone rang a few more times, but I wasn’t paying attention. Then it was quiet behind me, and I realized that she was gone.