I forgot my earbuds today. I always listen to music when I walk home, at a volume just loud enough to fill the silence. But today, I forgot my earbuds, so I walked home without any.

The first thing I notice is the buzz. There’s always a cloudy, buzzing sort of sound. Indoors, outdoors, everywhere. I don’t exactly know what it is most of the time, what’s making the buzzing sound, but it’s always there. The buzz is different depending on where you go. Inside a building buzz is different from walking on the street buzz which is different from sitting on the bus buzz.

The next thing I notice is my footsteps. The zippers on the sides of my boots are made of some kind of metal, so the slider always clangs against the chain. And so my shoes make a sort of jingling sound every time I take a step. Not that I’d noticed before.

On the street, I hear lots of conversation. Some I understand, some in languages that I don’t understand, but that I kind of understand because I notice their tone and body language. I can hear that some people are talking, but I can’t make out what they are saying. Sometimes these people add to the buzz. It makes me look at people on the streets, but not in a creepy way, in a curious sort of way. It’s funny how I want to get to know them, even though I’ll never see them again in my life.

I notice a piece of fluff floating in the air. At first, I think it’s a dandelion seed, and then I realize it’s late October and it’s probably a feather from someone’s down coat. It might be from my coat.

Motorcycles and expensive-looking sports cars make loud buzzes as they drive by. I could never drive like that, never mind the sports car part. They create a sort of prominent buzz. Buzz isn’t typically prominent.

I notice that when I walk faster, the sound of my footsteps beats faster. Not that I didn’t know that. I just happened to notice it today.

I see other people with earbuds, most of them probably listening to music or maybe a podcast, others talking on the phone. The earbuds always make it seem like they’re talking to themselves, and then it looks really creepy. There’s a lady who seems to have forgotten her earbuds too, because she’s listening to her music by holding her phone to her ear. I don’t know if she thinks it’s quiet, but I can hear it pretty clearly. I think it’s a Bruno Mars song.

When I get home, I use my keys to open the door. I can hear the click of my key going into the keyhole, the clinky shuffle of the key as I spin it. The clink trickles above a different buzz from street buzz. It’s home buzz. It’s more quiet and soft. It takes a few clinks and shuffles to open the door.

I’ll definitely bring my earbuds tomorrow. I find the walk a little boring without them.