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时间:2006-09-22 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:clian1   字体: [ ]

     Come on, admit it -- you like living at breakneck speed.



Life in the Fast Lane

James Gleick

1    We are in a rush. We are making haste. A compression of time characterizes many of our lives. As time-use researchers look around, they see a rushing and scurrying1 everywhere. Sometimes culture resembles "one big stomped2 anthill," say John P. Robinson and Geoffrey Godbey in their book Time for Life.



2    (1) Instantaneity rules. Pollsters use electronic devices during political speeches to measure opinions on the wing, before they have been fully3 formed; fast-food restaurants add express lanes. Even reading to children is under pressure. The volume One-Minute Bedtime Stories consists of traditional stories that can be read by a busy parent in only one minute.

3    There are places and objects that signify impatience4. The door-close button in elevators, so often a placebo5 used to distract riders to whom ten seconds seems an eternity6. Speed-dial buttons on telephones. Remote controls, which have caused an acceleration7 in the pace of films and television commercials.

4    Time is a gentle deity8, said Sophocles. Perhaps it was, for him. These days it cracks the whip.(2) We humans have chosen speed, and we thrive on it -- more than we generally admit. Our ability to work and play fast gives us power. It thrills us.

5    And if haste is the accelerator pedal, multitasking is overdrive. These days it is possible to drive, eat, listen to a book and talk on the phone -- all at once, if you dare. David Feldman, in New York, schedules his tooth flossing to coincide with his regular browsing9 of online discussion groups. He has learned to hit PageDown with his pinkie. Mike Holderness, in London, watches TV with captioning10 so that he can keep the sound off and listen to the unrelated music of his choice. An entire class of technologies is dedicated11 to the furtherance of multitasking. Car phones. Bookstands on exercise machines. Waterproof12 shower radios.       如果匆忙是加速器的踏板,一心多用就是超速档。如今,完全可能做到边开车边吃东西边听录音书籍边打电话--要是你敢这么做。纽约的大卫·费尔德曼把用洁牙线清洁牙缝安排在日常浏览网上讨论之时。他已经学会用小手指敲击下行键。伦敦的迈克·霍尔德内斯看带字幕的电视节目,这样他就能把音量调低到听不见,好欣赏自己喜欢的与电视节目无关的音乐。有一整套的技术专门用来促进一心多用。如汽车电话。如健身器材上的搁书架。如防水的淋浴间收音机。

6    Not so long ago, for most people, listening to the radio was a single task activity. Now it is rare for a person to listen to the radio and do nothing else.

7    Even TV has lost its command of our foreground. In so many households the TV just stays on, like a noisy light bulb, while the life of the family passes back and forth13 in its shimmering14 glow.

8    (3) A sense of well-being15 comes with this saturation16 of parallel pathways in the brain. We choose mania17 over boredom18 every time. "Humans have never, ever opted19 for slower," points out the historian Stephen Kern.

9    We catch the fever -- and the fever feels good. We live in the buzz. "It has gotten to the point where my days, crammed20 with all sorts of activities, feel like an Olympic endurance event: the everydayathon," confesses Jay Walljasper in the Utne Reader.

10    All humanity has not succumbed21 equally, of course.(4) If you make haste, you probably make it in the technology-driven world. Sociologists have also found that increasing wealth and increasing education bring a sense of tension about time. We believe that we possess too little of it. No wonder Ivan Seidenberg, an American telecommunications executive, jokes about the mythical22 DayDoubler program his customers seem to want: "Using sophisticated time-mapping and compression techniques, DayDoubler gives you access to 48 hours each and every day. At the higher numbers DayDoubler becomes less stable, and you run the risk of a temporal crash in which everything from the beginning of time to the present could crash down around you, sucking you into a suspended time zone."

11    Our culture views time as a thing to hoard23 and protect. Timesaving is the subject to scores of books with titles like Streamlining Your Life; Take Your Time; More Hours in My Day. Marketers anticipate our desire to save time, and respond with fast ovens, quick playback, quick freezing and fast credit.

12    We have all these ways to "save time," but what does that concept really mean? Does timesaving mean getting more done? If so, does talking on a cellular24 phone at the beach save time or waste it? If you can choose between a 30-minute train ride, during which you can read, and a 20-minute drive, during which you cannot, does the drive save ten minutes? Does it make sense to say that driving saves ten minutes from your travel budget while removing ten minutes from your reading budget?

13    These questions have no answer. They depend on a concept that is ill formed: the very idea of timesaving. Some of us say we want to save time when really we just want to do more -- and faster. It might be simplest to recognise that there is time and we make choices about how to spend it, how to spare it, how to use it and how to fill it.

14    Time is not a thing we have lost. It is not a thing we ever had. It is what we live in.


1 scurrying 294847ddc818208bf7d590895cd0b7c9     
v.急匆匆地走( scurry的现在分词 )
  • We could hear the mice scurrying about in the walls. 我们能听见老鼠在墙里乱跑。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • We were scurrying about until the last minute before the party. 聚会开始前我们一直不停地忙忙碌碌。 来自辞典例句
2 stomped 0884b29fb612cae5a9e4eb0d1a257b4a     
v.跺脚,践踏,重踏( stomp的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She stomped angrily out of the office. 她怒气冲冲,重步走出办公室。
  • She slammed the door and stomped (off) out of the house. 她砰的一声关上了门,暮暮地走出了屋了。 来自辞典例句
3 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
4 impatience OaOxC     
  • He expressed impatience at the slow rate of progress.进展缓慢,他显得不耐烦。
  • He gave a stamp of impatience.他不耐烦地跺脚。
5 placebo placebo     
  • The placebo has been found to work with a lot of different cases.人们已发现安慰剂能在很多不同的病例中发挥作用。
  • The placebo effect refers to all the observable behaviors caused by placebo.安慰剂效应是指由安慰剂所引起的可观察的行为。
6 eternity Aiwz7     
  • The dull play seemed to last an eternity.这场乏味的剧似乎演个没完没了。
  • Finally,Ying Tai and Shan Bo could be together for all of eternity.英台和山伯终能双宿双飞,永世相随。
7 acceleration ff8ya     
  • All spacemen must be able to bear acceleration.所有太空人都应能承受加速度。
  • He has also called for an acceleration of political reforms.他同时呼吁加快政治改革的步伐。
8 deity UmRzp     
  • Many animals were seen as the manifestation of a deity.许多动物被看作神的化身。
  • The deity was hidden in the deepest recesses of the temple.神藏在庙宇壁龛的最深处。
9 browsing 509387f2f01ecf46843ec18c927f7822     
v.吃草( browse的现在分词 );随意翻阅;(在商店里)随便看看;(在计算机上)浏览信息
  • He sits browsing over[through] a book. 他坐着翻阅书籍。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Cattle is browsing in the field. 牛正在田里吃草。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 captioning 295358b60d72679f48957f22173928c1     
v.给(图片、照片等)加说明文字( caption的现在分词 )
11 dedicated duHzy2     
  • He dedicated his life to the cause of education.他献身于教育事业。
  • His whole energies are dedicated to improve the design.他的全部精力都放在改进这项设计上了。
12 waterproof Ogvwp     
  • My mother bought me a waterproof watch.我妈妈给我买了一块防水手表。
  • All the electronics are housed in a waterproof box.所有电子设备都储放在一个防水盒中。
13 forth Hzdz2     
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
14 shimmering 0a3bf9e89a4f6639d4583ea76519339e     
v.闪闪发光,发微光( shimmer的现在分词 )
  • The sea was shimmering in the sunlight. 阳光下海水波光闪烁。
  • The colours are delicate and shimmering. 这些颜色柔和且闪烁微光。 来自辞典例句
15 well-being Fe3zbn     
  • He always has the well-being of the masses at heart.他总是把群众的疾苦挂在心上。
  • My concern for their well-being was misunderstood as interference.我关心他们的幸福,却被误解为多管闲事。
16 saturation wCTzQ     
  • The company's sales are now close to saturation in many western countries.这家公司的产品销售量在许多西方国家已接近饱和。
  • Road traffic has reached saturation point.公路交通已达到饱和点。
17 mania 9BWxu     
  • Football mania is sweeping the country.足球热正风靡全国。
  • Collecting small items can easily become a mania.收藏零星物品往往容易变成一种癖好。
18 boredom ynByy     
  • Unemployment can drive you mad with boredom.失业会让你无聊得发疯。
  • A walkman can relieve the boredom of running.跑步时带着随身听就不那么乏味了。
19 opted 9ec34da056d6601471a0808ebc89b126     
v.选择,挑选( opt的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She was co-opted onto the board. 她获增选为董事会成员。
  • After graduating she opted for a career in music. 毕业后她选择了从事音乐工作。
20 crammed e1bc42dc0400ef06f7a53f27695395ce     
adj.塞满的,挤满的;大口地吃;快速贪婪地吃v.把…塞满;填入;临时抱佛脚( cram的过去式)
  • He crammed eight people into his car. 他往他的车里硬塞进八个人。
  • All the shelves were crammed with books. 所有的架子上都堆满了书。
21 succumbed 625a9b57aef7b895b965fdca2019ba63     
不再抵抗(诱惑、疾病、攻击等)( succumb的过去式和过去分词 ); 屈从; 被压垮; 死
  • The town succumbed after a short siege. 该城被围困不久即告失守。
  • After an artillery bombardment lasting several days the town finally succumbed. 在持续炮轰数日后,该城终于屈服了。
22 mythical 4FrxJ     
  • Undeniably,he is a man of mythical status.不可否认,他是一个神话般的人物。
  • Their wealth is merely mythical.他们的财富完全是虚构的。
23 hoard Adiz0     
  • They have a hoard of food in the basement.地下室里有他们贮藏的食物。
  • How many curios do you hoard in your study?你在你书房里聚藏了多少古玩?
24 cellular aU1yo     
  • She has a cellular telephone in her car.她的汽车里有一部无线通讯电话机。
  • Many people use cellular materials as sensitive elements in hygrometers.很多人用蜂窝状的材料作为测量温度的传感元件。
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