Automobiles shot out of deep, narrow streets into the shallows
of bright squares. Dark clusters of pedestrians formed cloud-like strings.
Where more powerful lines of speed cut across their casual
haste they clotted up, then trickled on faster and, after
a few oscillations, resumed their steady rhythm. Hundreds of noises
wove themselves into a wiry texture of sound with barbs
protruding here and there, smart edges running along it and
subsiding again, with clear notes splintering off and slowly dissipating.
By this noise alone, a man returning after years of
absence would have been able to tell where he was.
Paraphrases from the novel The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil.