Riding home on the subway last night I sat down next to a man wearing earphones, so I took mine out and tapped him on the shoulder. He must have been in his late twenties, riding down from Manhattan into Brooklyn with me, and when he looked at me I gestured with my earphones.

“Let’s swap,” I said. “You hear my song, and I’ll hear yours.”

So we swapped. He was listening to 50 Cent, and I had been playing Beck.

“Do you like 50 Cent?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “What do you think of Beck?”

“Never heard of him.”

“Here, try this,” I said, and dialed my iPod to Milk and Honey.

We sat there bobbing our heads, listening to music, for about three minutes. A reggae song came on next.

“You like reggae?” he asked.

“Yeah!” I said.

We reached Eastern Parkway, so I stood, we swapped back our earphones, and after slapping hands I stepped off the train.