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Life at a Snail’s Pace 慢不下来的生活


  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.


   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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