您现在的位置: 中国论文网 >> 外语论文 >> 英语教学 >> 正文 会员中心
 外语翻译论文   语言文化论文   英美文学论文   其他相关论文   学术英语   商务英语   英语教学
The “Busy” Trap 忙碌的陷阱

原文作者:sherry zhang

  if you live in america in the 21st century, you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. it’s become the default1) response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “busy!” “so busy.” “crazy busy.” it is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. and the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “that’s a good problem to have,” or “better than the opposite.”
   notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the i.c.u.2) or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. exhausted. dead on their feet3). it’s almost always people whose lamented4) busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. they’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.[论文网]
   almost everyone i know is busy. they feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. they schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 g.p.a.5)’s make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications.
   but the present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence6) to it. not long ago i skyped7) with a friend who was driven out of the city by high rent and now has an artist’s residency in a small town in the south of france. she described herself as happy and relaxed for the first time in years. she still gets her work done, but it doesn’t consume her entire day and brain. she says it feels like college—she has a big circle of friends who all go out to the cafe together every night. she has a boyfriend again. what she had mistakenly assumed was her personality—driven, cranky8), anxious and sad—turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment. it’s not as if any of us wants to live like this, any more than any one person wants to be part of a traffic jam or stadium trampling9) or the hierarchy of cruelty in high school—it’s something we collectively force one another to do.
   busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. i once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. this was an entertainment magazine whose reason for existence was obviated10) when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of in

stitutional self-delusion. i can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic11) exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

  i am not busy. i am the laziest ambitious person i know. like most writers, i feel like a reprobate12) who does not deserve to live on any day that i do not write, but i also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. on the best ordinary days of my life, i write in the morning, go for a long bike ride13) and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening i see friends, read or watch a movie. this, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day.
   but just in the last few months, i’ve insidiously14) started, because of professional obligations, to become busy. for the first time i was able to tell people, with a straight face15), that i was “too busy” to do this or that thing they wanted me to do. i could see why people enjoy this complaint; it makes you feel important, sought-after16) and put-upon17). except that i hate actually being busy. every morning my in-box was full of e-mails asking me to do things i did not want to do or presenting me with problems that i now had to solve. it got more and more intolerable until finally i fled town to the undisclosed location from which i’m writing this.
   here i am largely unmolested18) by obligations. there is no tv. to check e-mail i have to drive to the library. i go a week at a time without seeing anyone i know. i’ve remembered about buttercups19), stink bugs20) and the stars. i read. and i’m finally getting some real writing done for the first time in months. it’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.
   idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin d is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets21). the space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote thomas pynchon22) in his essay on sloth23). archimedes24)’ “eureka25)” in the bath, newton’s apple, jekyll & hyde26) and the benzene ring27): history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. it almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks28) and no-accounts29) aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.

  perhaps the world would soon slide to ruin if everyone behaved as i do. but i would suggest that an ideal human life lies somewher

e between my own defiant indolence and the rest of the world’s endless frenetic hustle. my role is just to be a bad influence, the kid standing outside the classroom window making faces at you at your desk, urging you to just this once make some excuse and get out of there, come outside and play. my own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but i did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since i’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people i love. i suppose it’s possible i’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that i didn’t work harder and say everything i had to say, but i think what i’ll really wish is that i could have one more beer with chris, another long talk with megan, one last good hard laugh with boyd. life is too short to be busy.


   1. default [?d??f??lt] n. [计]默认,系统设定
  2. i.c.u.:重症监护室(intensive care unit)
  3. dead on one’s feet:筋疲力尽
  4. lamented [l??mentid] adj. 被哀悼的,令人遗憾的
  5. g.p.a.:即成绩点数与学分的加权平均值(grade point average),又称g.p.r. (grade point ratio)。
  6. acquiescence [??kwi?es(?)ns] n. 默认,默许
  7. skype:一款网络即时语音沟通工具,可以免费与其他用户进行语音对话,也可以拨打国内国际电话。在文中此处是指“打网络电话”。
  8. cranky [?kr??ki] adj. 脾气暴躁的,古怪的
  9. trample [?tr?mp(?)l] vi. 践踏;蹂躏
  10. obviate [??bvie?t] vt. 排除;使成为不必要
  11. histrionic [?h?stri??n?k] adj. 做作的,不自然的
  12. reprobate [?repr??be?t] n. 堕落者
  13. go for a bike ride:骑车兜风
  14. insidiously [?n?s?di?sli] adv. 不知不觉间加剧地
  15. a straight face:绷着脸,一本正经的表情
  16. sought-after:广受欢迎的
  17. put-upon:被利用的
  18. unmolested [?n?m??lestid] adj. 不受干扰的,不受骚扰的
  19. buttercup [?b?t?(r)?k?p] n. 毛茛(开亮黄色花朵的小型植物),金凤花
  20. stink bug:椿象,一类翅膀变化异常的昆虫的通称,俗称“放屁虫”。
  21. rickets [?r?k?ts] n. 佝偻病,软骨病
  22. thomas pynchon:小托马斯·鲁格斯·品钦(thomas ruggles pynchon, jr., 1937~),美国作家,以写晦涩复杂的后现代主义小说著称。
   23. sloth [sl??θ] n. 懒散,懒惰
  24. archimedes:阿基米德(公元前287年~公元前212年),古希腊哲学家、数学家、物理学家,享有“力学之父”的美称。
  25. eureka:“尤里卡”,原是古希腊语,意为:“天啊!我发现了!”相传阿基米德有一次在浴盆里洗澡时突然来了灵感,发现了他久未解决的计算浮力问题的办法,因而惊喜地叫了一声“尤里卡”,阿基米德定律由此诞生。该词现用作因重大发现而发出的惊叹语。
   26. jekyll & hyde:《杰基尔和海德》,根据原名为《杰基尔医生和海德先生之奇案》(strange case of dr jekyll and mr hyde)的小说(现名为《化身博士》)改编而成的音乐剧。这部小说是英国著名作家罗伯特·史蒂文森(robert stevenson, 1850~1894)的代表作之一,其写作灵感源于作者的一个梦。
   27. benzene ring:苯环。19世纪90年代,有机化学家们都在为苯环的物理特征和化学结构而冥思苦想,德国化学家凯库勒(kekulé von stradonitz, 1829~1896)从梦中得到灵感,发现了苯环的基本结构。
   28. goldbrick [?ɡ?uldbrik] n. 懒汉
  29. no-account:无足轻重的人
  • 上一篇外语论文:
  • 下一篇外语论文:
  •  更新时间:2013-05-31 13:02:38  作者:佚名 [标签: 陷阱 ]
    姓 名: *
    评 分: 1分 2分 3分 4分 5分
    As is the case的用法分析
    Under the Dome穹顶之下
    As it happens的语义与用法分析
    The Power of Music
    The Circus
    Part 3 Eye on the Prize
    Tavi Gevinson: the Fashion Blogger Beco…
    The Lives of a Cell《细胞生命的礼赞》——…
    Who Is the Wisest of All? 谁是最有智慧的…
    The Sparrow & the Hawk麻雀与老鹰
    Strange Things Banned by Governments各国…
    Famous Left—Handed Authors著名的左撇子作…
    | 设为首页 | 加入收藏 | 联系我们 | 网站地图 | 手机版 | 论文发表

    Copyright 2006-2013 © 毕业论文网 All rights reserved 

     [中国免费论文网]  版权所有