Cradled in the quietude of a Friday afternoon commuter train headed for points West, inching away from the black fingers of the fading shadows of the City, seemingly endless rows of corporate pawns slip into a hushed torpor. The click-damnit-click of metal wheels against rails produces a mechanical lullaby, while the gentle sway of the train car—as it wends its way through landscapes that dissolve from urban to suburban to wilderness—can beguile even the most strident insomniac into a dull stupor. A man with his iPad perched precariously on his knees might succumb to the spell of sleep, if just for a moment, only to be awaken by the tug of his ear buds and the crackling sound of shattering glass. An iPad slipping through the man’s buckled knees and onto the hard surface beneath his feet services as an unhappy reminder that a commuter train is anything but a nursery, despite the cries of a grown man, as he strokes the cracked screen of his iPad, a security blanket that didn’t help his sleep.

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