各种汽车广告中,我们总能看到车辆飞驰而过,如风般飘逸,如光般迅疾;各种大电影中,机车发动时,引擎轰鸣,下一秒便如箭离弦,消失在道路尽头……这个时代,巨大的压力化成强大的动力,推着所有人往前飞奔,似乎所有人都崇尚“速度与激情”,而作者却喜欢在空无一人的林荫道上,慢悠悠地开车,为什么呢?

  There are moments in life when you’re in the middle of some activity and think, “I love doing this. Love it!” Maybe it happens on the golf course , or camping, or when you’re having dinner at a favorite restaurant. There are so many things to love about modern life.

  I’m in love with 35 miles per hour.

  It’s a difficult kind of love to talk about in this era of TV commercials and big-budget movies that constantly promote and glorify images of supercharged vehicles with roaring engines and smoking tires thundering across city streets in endless pursuit of high-octane adventure.

  My personality has never had a fast-and-furious side. This aversion to speed began early: I learned to ski during elementary school, and while everyone around me was schussing and swooping downhill, I got really good at traveling along in short segments of about one or two hundred feet, then pulling off to a secluded spot where I could rest, survey the surrounding terrain, and plan the next portion of my methodical, low-risk descent.

  I vividly recall going to Disneyland as a young teenager and being emotionally thrashed on the Matterhorn bobsled ride. Other kids were howling with delight at the sharp turns and steep drops while I was mentally repeating the phrases “Please be over soon” and “I don’t want to die.”

  In high school, I thoroughly enjoyed driver’s education class because of the no-need-to-hurry approach the instructors emphasized. The day my ride-along teacher said, “OK, I think we’re ready for the expressway ” wasn’t an occasion for any internal celebration.

  Do not, however, assume I spend most of my road time cowering behind the steering wheel. Freeway fright is not my copilot. After 45-plus years on the road, I can handle a vast range of traffic tribulations. I’ve had my share of white knuckles and sweaty palms but not one accident since a fender bender in college. I go with the flow, and if the flow is doing 65 or 70 m.p.h. in bumper-to-bumper formation, well, as Tim Gunn likes to say on Project Runway, “Make it work!”

  But in solitary situations, alone on some suburban boulevard or country lane, I like to ease off the gas pedal, settle in at a steady

35 m.p.h., and achieve an authentic state of cruising nirvana.

  It’s a speed that allows me to appreciate my surroundings because the scenery doesn’t flash by in a blur. There’s also a significant safety factor because slowing down means I have more time to react and avoid potholes, bouncing balls, bull elk, or other hazards that may appear unexpectedly.

  This is my way of pushing back against the relentlessly increasing pace of our high-intensity, on-demand society.

  Think of it as the automotive equivalent of a trail ride. When you saddle up for an equestrian excursion, you don’t race across the countryside at a full gallop. It’s much nicer to mosey along and find pleasure in the journey.

  Let me be clear about one crucial point: I would never, ever try to impose my personal commitment to mild motoring on anyone else.

  I’m careful to pursue it only in private moments so as not to anger or annoy other motorists. They do their thing; I do my thing (when conditions permit).

  “You’re the only person I know,” one friend said, “who waits until no one else is around so you can drive below the speed limit.” Is it possible I’m the only person in America with this particular passion? All I can say in response is that we humans often do strange things for love, and my emotions aren’t likely to change.

  When I’m in the driver’s seat, with nothing but wide-open blacktop in both directions, 35 m.p.h. is the velocity of Cupid’s arrow.

  Vocabulary

  1. slow lane: 慢车道。

  2. golf course: 高尔夫球场。

  3. era: 时代,时期;commercial: (电视或电台的)商业广告;budget: 预算;constantly: 持续不断地,重复地;glorify: 吹捧,美化;supercharged: (汽车引擎)增压的,提高功率的;roaring: 轰鸣的,发出巨响的;tire: 轮胎;high-octane: 激动人心的,富有活力的。

  4. 我没有“速度与激情”那一面。personality: 个性,性格;fast-and-furious: 迅速的,猛烈的,此处借用了电影名《速度与激情》(Fast and Furious)。

  5. aversion: 厌恶,反感;schuss: 直线下滑;swoop: 向下猛冲,俯冲;segment: 部分,片段;pull off: 停靠(路边);secluded: 僻静的,隐蔽的;terrain: 地形,地势;portion: 部分;methodical: 有条不紊的,井然有序的;descent: 下坡。

  6. vividly: 清晰地;thrash: 猛烈摆动,剧烈扭动;Matterhorn bobsled: 马特洪雪橇过山车。

  7. howl: 高声嚷,大声呼叫;steep: 急剧的。

  8. expressway: 高速公路。

  9. cower: (因恐惧而)蜷缩,畏缩;steering wheel: 方向盘。

  10. freeway: 高速公路;fright: 惊骇,恐惧;copilot: 副驾驶员。

  11. tribulation: 问题,麻烦,困难。

  12. 虽然我也有指节发白、掌心冒汗的时候,但除了大学时期那次轻微事故外,我没出过任何意外。knuckle: 指节,指关节;fender bender: 轻微交通事故。

  13. flow: (人群或事物)流动,持续移动;bumper-to-bumper: 一辆接一辆的;Tim Gunn: 提姆•冈恩,知名时尚品牌丽资•克莱本(Liz Claiborne)的首席设计师roject Runway: 《天桥骄子》,是一档关于时装设计的美国真人秀节目。

  14. 但当我独自一人行驶在郊区的某条林荫大道或乡间小路上时,我喜欢松开油门,放缓速度,以每小时35英里的车速前进,真正进入享受缓慢前行的美妙天堂的状态。solitary: 单独的,独自的;suburban: 郊区的,城外的;boulevard: 林荫大道;ease off: 缓和,减轻;gas pedal: 加速装置,油门;cruising: 以平稳速度行驶的,缓慢行进的;nirvana: 极乐世界,和美之地。

  15. flash by: 一闪而过;blur: 模糊不清。

  16. pothole: 路面坑洼;bull elk: 公麋鹿;hazard: 危险,危害。

  17. relentlessly: 不停地,不间断地。

  18. automotive: 汽车的;equivalent: 相等物,对应物;trail: 乡间小路,林间小道。

  19. 你备好马匹,骑马出游时,是不会在乡间纵马疾驰的。saddle up: 给马装上鞍;equestrian: 骑马的,马术的;excursion: 短途旅行,远足;at a full gallop: 疾驰,飞奔。

  20. mosey: 闲逛,漫步。

  21. 有一点很关键,我要说清楚:喜欢开慢车是我个人爱好,我绝对不会把这个观点强加给任何人。crucial: 至关重要的,关键性的;impose sth. on sb.: 把……强加于。

  22. blacktop: 柏油路;velocity: 速度,速率;Cupid’s arrow: 丘比特之箭。

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