Soundbite

The bus didn't have the radio on today so you can hear people sniffing. A sneeze here and there, some muffled by a handkerchief. Light breathing. The muted sound of travel in a contained vehicle: tricycles with mufflers and their piercing sounds, like chainsaw; the whoosh of vehicles passing by--only the volume was turned down so low. Someone alternately shifts the weight off her feet while standing in the aisle, which meant a gentle brush of soles on the floor. Traffic jams meant chairs slowly creaking, or a phone call to someone. Or the ping of a text message that imitates a single key from a lyre. There's the distant crackle of creased plastic bags, of crackers from handbags kept especially for motion sickness, or hunger, or whatever effect three-hour bus travels have to them. There were deft fingers zipping zippers and straps snapped shut, or straps dangling overhead, swaying and tapping unsuspecting hands and heads. Joints crack as fists rest from typing on smartphones. Later, there's the shuffle of printed files from an envelope, then feet. More shuffling of paper from the busboy's receipts, bills.