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Life at a Snail’s Pace 慢不下来的生活

原文作者:潘文静

  yesterday began like any other working day. so by 8:35 am i was already late and already in a hurry, trotting1) at my signature2) ungainly3) speeded-up clatter along the pavement, my phone clamped beneath shoulder and chin, listening to voicemails as i counted out money in my palm. every morning as i leave the house, i count my change and work out which combination of newspapers and magazines i can buy at the tube station without having to waste crucial seconds waiting for change or (unthinkable, this) queueing behind another customer who might send my morning into a tailspin4) by rummaging5) in their bag for their wallet or engaging the newsagent in conversation.[论文网]
   i was already five minutes late at this stage, having wasted two minutes making arrangements for my son to be taken to his piano lesson, another minute running upstairs when i remembered that the half-price voucher6) for the startrite shoes i needed to pick up for my daughter at lunchtime was still on my dressing table, a good 20 seconds working out the answer to an urgent domestic query (“how many days is it now until we go and see walking with dinosaurs, mummy?” since you ask, it’s 137) and then another minute in a second round of kissing.
   so there i was, running down the steps into the tube station with coins in one hand, oyster card7) in the other, when the last voicemail came through. it was my editor. “can you write a piece about the go slow movement8) today? you need to stop rushing about. it’s the new thing, apparently.”
   that stopped me in my tracks. the very notion of slowing down is completely alien. and it’s not just me. the speed of passengers racing down the stairs either side of me, and their barely concealed huffs9) as they were forced to deviate centimetres from the fastest route from a to b in order to accommodate the irritating woman standing still, made it pretty clear that frantic has become the norm.
   but later this month, the go slow movement arrives here from italy to attempt to change all this. the slow down london festival will introduce city dwellers to the rewards of meditation, and the delights of ambling10) across bridges enjoying the view. this may sound implausible to anyone acquainted with london at rush hour, but i have been attending milan fashion week for long enough to know that crazy trends from italy should never be discounted. slow food has been a success; if we city-dwellers can slow-cook a shoulder of lamb, perhaps a life lived more gently is just around the corner.


  of course, it’s absurd. i write about fashion for a living, so the fabric of society would hardly fall apart were i to get to work 10 minutes later. there is a large dose of nonsensical11) egotism12) in our obsession with staying on-schedule, when for the most part life would not be derailed13) by a five-minute dawdle14)

here or there. but the relentless progress of communications technology has filled every segment of free time: doing several things at once has become second nature. between the demands of work and family, every chunk of the day is spoken for15).
   i begin the experiment by standing still on the escalator. this is anathema16) to me: walking up and down escalators not only saves time but adds two minutes of cardio into your schedule. standing is boring—the view is not exactly inspiring—and i miss a train. at my breakfast meeting, i keep my phone in my bag, out of view, and force myself not to clock-watch. i take deep, calming breaths as it buzzes angrily against my leg, and try to remember to chew my toast.
   the journey back to the office is tough. until recently i had a phone and a blackberry, which meant i could use this time to make phone calls while checking emails. i now have just the one gadget, and am still getting used to what feels like the appalling17) inefficiency of not being able to email and talk at the same time. the benefits are that i feel the sun on my face and am less prone to near-collisions with other pedestrians. but the backlog18) of exclamation-mark-tagged emails that await me in the office soon wipes the smile off my face.
   very soon, a day of slow living has passed in a blur. going slowly has set me back19) crucial minutes, and all i can think about is how late i am running. i am typing this last paragraph with one eye on the clock in the corner of the screen: my nanny clocks off20) in 45 minutes, my husband is working late, it takes 40 minutes to get home and i need to buy groceries. there’s nothing for it but to finish typing, hit “send” and run to the bus stop. slow living is a lovely idea. i just wish there were more hours in the day.
   昨天像其他任何一个工作日那样开始了。wwW.11665.COm早上8:35的时候,我出门已经晚了,已变得急急慌慌。我用自己毫无优雅可言的标志性走姿在人行道上匆忙前行,脚步不断加快,鞋子发出哒哒的响声。我把电话夹在下巴和肩膀之间,边听语音邮件边数手里的钱。每天早上出门时,我都数一数手里的零钱,盘算在地铁站买哪几份报纸和杂志可以让我不必浪费宝贵的几秒钟等着找零,或者(这个简直不能想象)不必排在另一位顾客后面——此人或许会在包里到处翻找钱包,或是和出售报刊的人搭起讪来,那会让我的整个早上陷入混乱状态。
   这时我已经晚了五分钟。我浪费了两分钟安排送我儿子去上钢琴课的事;花了一分钟跑上楼,因为我想起来startrite鞋子的半价优惠券还在梳妆台上,我午饭时要去给女儿买一双这样的鞋;我用了整整20秒来回答家里人提出的一个紧急问题(“妈妈,从现在到我们去看《与恐龙同行》还有多少天啊?”好吧,既然你问了,还有137天);然后又挥霍了一分钟进行第二轮吻别。

  所以我就成了现在这个样子:一路跑下楼梯,冲进地铁站,一手拿着硬币,一手拿着牡蛎公交卡。就在这时,我听到了最后一个语音邮件。是我的编辑发来的。“你今天能写一篇关于‘慢生活’运动的文章吗?你需要停下来,别那么匆匆忙忙。显然,这是件新鲜事。”
   这个邮件让我停下了脚步。“慢下来”这个概念于我而言是完全陌生的。而且有这种感觉的不只我一个人。我两侧的乘客都在快速跑着下楼梯,为了避开我这个让人恼怒的站着不动的女人,他们不得不放弃从a到b的最快捷路径,拐个几厘米的小弯,这让他们几乎掩饰不住自己的愤怒。所有这一切都清晰地表明,紧张忙乱已经成为常态。
   但这个月末(编注:此文发表于2009年4月),“慢生活”运动从意大利传到了这里,试图改变这一切。“让伦敦慢下来”活动节将让城市居民认识到沉思冥想的好处,认识到漫步桥头欣赏风光的愉悦。对任何熟知伦敦上下班高峰期的人来讲,这听起来都难以置信。但是我长期参加米兰时装周,深知来自意大利的疯狂潮流绝对不能小觑。“慢食”运动已经取得成功。如果我们这些城市居民能够慢慢烹调一块小羊羔前腿肉的话,或许更加从容的生活就离我们不远了。
   当然,这很荒谬。我靠写关于时尚的文章谋生,所以社会结构不会因为我上班迟到十分钟而瓦解。我们执着于按日程安排行事,这其中有很大的毫无意义的自我中心主义的成分,大多数时候,生活不会因为你在某处闲逛了五分钟便脱离正轨。但是日新月异的通讯科技占满了我们所有的空闲时间:同时干几件事情已经变成了人类的第二天性。既要应付工作所需,又要满足家庭需求,一天中的每一块时间都被安排满了。
   我一动不动地站在自动扶梯上,以此开始慢生活的实验。

这对我来说简直无法容忍:在自动扶梯上上下走动不仅可以节省时间,而且还在你的日程安排里增加了两分钟的有氧运动。站着不动十分无聊——看不到什么陶冶人心的风景——而且我还错过了一趟地铁。早餐会上,我把手机放在包里,不去看它,并且强迫自己不看时间。当手机在我的腿上发出强烈震动的蜂鸣声时,我就做深呼吸,让自己平静,并努力记着嚼嘴里的面包。
   回办公室的路上很难熬。不久前,我同时拥有一部手机和一台黑莓,这意味着我可以利用这段时间一边查看电子邮件一边打电话。而此时我手头只有一部手机,还在努力适应那种无法同时打电话和查看电子邮件的低效率的可怕生活。不过,这带来的好处是我感受到了照在脸上的阳光,而且不那么容易和行人发生碰撞了。但是,办公室里积压的等着我处理的标有感叹号的紧急邮件很快让我脸上的笑容一扫而空。
   转眼间,一天的慢生活就稀里糊涂地过去了。慢生活耽搁了我宝贵的时间,现在我满脑子想的都是我晚了多久。此时,我正在敲这最后一段,同时一只眼睛瞟着电脑屏幕角落里的时间:保姆将在45分钟后下班,老公今天要加班,我到家需要40分钟,中间还得去趟杂货店。没有别的办法,我只能赶紧把字敲完,点击“发送”,然后冲向公交车站。慢生活是个不错的想法,我只恨不得每天能多出几个小时。
   1. trot [tr?t] vi. 小步跑,快步走,匆匆忙忙地走
  2. signature [?s?ɡn?t??(r)] n. 识别标志,鲜明特征
  3. ungainly [?n?ɡe?nli] adv. 笨拙地,难看地,不雅地
  4. tailspin [?te?lsp?n] n. 〈口〉失控状态,混乱,慌乱
  5. rummage [?r?m?d?] vi. 到处翻找
  6. voucher [?va?t??(r)] n. 优惠券,凭证,凭单
  7. oyster card:牡蛎公交卡,英国伦敦使用的公共交通卡
  8. go slow movement:“慢生活”运动,一项主张放慢生活节奏的运动,最初从反对快餐的“慢食”运动开始,后扩展到生活的各个方面。
  9. huff [h?f] n. (一阵)气恼,愤怒
  10. amble [??mbl] vi. 漫步,慢走
  11. nonsensical [n?n?sens?kl] adj. 无意义的,荒谬的
  12. egotism [?eɡ?t?z?m] n. 自我中心
  13. derail [d??re?l] vt. 使离开正常进程
  14. dawdle [?d??dl] n. 闲逛,混日子
  15. speak for:预定,订购
  16. anathema [??n?θ?m?] n. 十分讨厌的人(或事物)
  17. appalling [??p??l??] adj. 令人震惊的,骇人听闻的
  18. backlog [?b?kl?ɡ] n. 积压
  19. set back:妨碍,推迟
  20. clock off:打卡以记录下班时间
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