A blue and white “Cobra” tram slowly goes by my window, causing the ground to shake ever so slightly.
At least five passengers have their iPhones out in the hopes of catching up on the latest gossip posted on their friends’ facebook pages.
Others have their noses stuck in one of the poorly written and cheaply printed evening newspapers that normally litter the floor of the tram or simply take up space on empty seats.
It seems as though we have forgotten how to throw things away, even things like free newspapers that aren’t even good enough to line the bottom of bird cages.
At the back of the tram, a few sun-burnt kids are fighting over the seats in the “Stübli”, the small VIP lounge that lets you sit a few steps higher than the rest of the passengers and offers good views out the back window.
Just on the other side of the tram, a long line of small cars, trucks and service vans is trying to beat the afternoon traffic out of town.
Some of the drivers are blowing smoke out of rolled-down windows, a few are snacking on candy or fruit and an alarming number are simply picking their noses, oblivious to the fact that I can watch them dig for gold from my window.
They seem to get visibly annoyed whenever pedestrians cross one of the three cross-walks going to and from the tram stop.
The flow of traffic on the other side of the street is much smoother. There are probably fewer people heading into the city at this late afternoon hour.
Occasionally someone on a motorbike zooms by, passing the cars on the inside lane that is reserved for trams and buses. A big tour bus roars by, shuttling a group of Chinese tourists to the next European destination, probably Munich’s beer halls.
Bikes weave in and out of the stop-and-go traffic as well. Sometimes it is a poor, helmet-less university student with her backpack full of overdue library books and sometimes it’s a tie-wearing banker type, who is probably trying to get in shape for next month’s company soccer match against the crosstown hedge fund rivals.
A loud ambulance rushes by, lights flashing and sirens blaring, on its way to the ER at the hospital down the hill. The street also has its fair share of nordic walkers, baby-stroller-pushers, dog walkers and Migros-bag-carrying pedestrians.
It seems as though everyone has a place they need to be. They are either coming and going, hard to tell which. Pretty much another typical day of traffic on a typical street in Zurich.