Some people like to make a lot of noise when they get on the train—usually teenagers, but not always. Some people just want to be noticed, I suppose, or poke a hole in the air you're sharing. Same with playing loud music in a car with the windows rolled down: "I am here." Or, in the immortal words of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, "I won't be ignored, Dan."
Tonight a man and a woman boarded at the 57th Street station, both a little raggedy-looking. Like times were hard. He was carrying an enormous wrinkled shopping bag, the kind that discount mall Santas lug their presents around in. They couldn't find seats together so they settled about ten feet apart and hollered back and forth to each other all the way to Columbus Circle, with him rooting around in that bag on the floor the whole time, clearly not finding what he needed. At Columbus Circle they both made their move to the open seats at one end of the car, opposite each other. She spread out and stretched her feet across the seat next to her and he shuffled through his bag again, pulled out a book, and handed it to her across the aisle.