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Life in the fast lane

[ 2009-12-18 12:39]     字号 [] [] []  
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Life in the fast laneReader question:

What does “life in the fast lane” mean, as in this sentence: Living life in the fast lane doesn’t mean you have to live solely on fast food.

My comments:

It means you’re leading a life at such a breathtaking – or breakneck – tempo that you often don’t have the time to even cook yourself a proper meal, making do instead with instant noodles, hamburgers and similar such.

“Fast lane” refers to the innermost lane on the expressway, the lane in which you speed up your vehicle to overtake others. Fast lane, so-called because it is the fastest among several lanes in the same direction.

Some drivers in Beijing, you must have observed, stay in the fast lane all the time. That’s illegal, by the way but that’s not of our concern here. Here we’re concerned with the fact that driving in the fast lane all the time might be dangerous, because the pace is so fast and driver so furious, or drunk, as the case may be, that accidents often ensue.

Now imagine life in the fast lane all day, all week, all year round....

Anyways, “life in the fast lane” refers to the lifestyle of career people in the big city, especially successful people or at least ones who strive for success, whatever that is. These people have so much to accomplish professionally that they often do so at the expense of seemingly unimportant things, such as regular meals, sufficient sleep and time with families.

“Life in the fast lane” involves non-stop meetings, working overtime, many business trips out of town.

Or BUSY-ness in general. Some aspiring youngsters, in fact, are so busy with work that they say they don’t have the time to date and get married.

Ah, well. If you look at “life in the fast lane” as a disease, then he who leads such a life has some of the following symptoms: stomach problems (from poor eating habits), red eyes (from staring at the computer screen), insomnia, stress and depression.

And that’s not the saddest part. The saddest part is most people who lead a so-called life in the fast lane don’t really have the disease, just the symptoms. I mean, they don’t have a lot of success and the trappings that come with it, huge pay checks for instance, paid holiday trips to the Caribbean, girls galore and constant media attention, such as the attention Tiger Woods is attracting now. Nope. They don’t have any of these. All they have is the unpleasant symptoms, the red eyes, hunched backs and so forth.

So, what to do?

Take the good with the bad or quit the life in the fast lane altogether.

Quit, that is, before it’s too late.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)