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距离死亡的两步

距离死亡的两步

美国的一位作家好友,在华盛顿的人行道过马路时险遭车祸。他为此写来一篇短文,附信如下:

Whenever you have a moment, please read the attached (short! under 500 words) Word file. If you agree that the message is worthwhile, please forward it on to as many people as you can. Maybe we can save some lives here. Thanks much.

意思是:有空请读附件中的文件(很短!不到500字)。你如认为值得,请尽可能多地把它转给人们看看。也许我们能救人一命。多谢。

短文如下:

    Two Steps From Death

On a late afternoon last month, I’m walking to a local library. As I approach a cross street, the white walk light is blinking down from the number nine – plenty of time to cross the narrow 2-lane street. It occurs to me to speed up and jog across, but instead I simply continue at my normal pace.

That instantaneous, subconscious decision saves my life – or at the least, catastrophic injury. For as I’m in full stride in the middle of the road, passing in front of a car waiting at the light, another car turning left (from my right, off the street I’ve been walking down) cuts me off, whizzing past a scant couple inches ahead. I instinctively jerk to a halt as I hear the male driver (whose window is open) utter a single word: “Shit!”

In an instant the car’s gone – the same instant that I realize I could have been too.

The daydreams that had been swirling in my head instantly vanish, replaced by an overwhelming rush of wide-eyed shock… and relief. A couple steps more and I would have been hit dead-on by a car traveling at least 25 M.P.H. Though I’m generally a very alert pedestrian – no earbuds for me – this moment of inattentiveness nearly cost me my life, or serious injury.

Car accidents killed 4,784 pedestrians and injured 61,000 more in the U.S. (more than six times the amount of casualties involving bicyclists) in 2006, according to the most recent National Highway Safety Administration figures available. Though the numbers have generally been trending downwards over the years, that’s little comfort compared to the stark reality that I came within a hairsbreadth of becoming one of those statistics.

But the walk light was on, my mind tells me. I was in the crosswalk. I had the right of way! And there was still plenty of light outside. Tell that to the police or the coroner or grieving friends and family. It means nothing. If we could hear from any of those 4,784 fatalities, I bet many would voice similarly futile assertions.

I am, simply put, lucky to be alive. While the chilling thoughts of this near collision fade, I am eternally reminded of that simple but sage advice I last heard from my late mother a half-century ago. Everyone has heard it too: LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING THE STREET! Make no exceptions. Remind everyone you know to do the same. And if you’re behind the wheel, be ever mindful of pedestrians and cyclists.

If the driver of that speeding car reads this, I say: at least you don’t have to carry the weight – of smashing into a clearly visible pedestrian in a crosswalk – to your grave. And most thankfully I’ve avoided going to mine, at least for another day. L’chayim.

试译如下:

    距离死亡的两步

上个月的一个傍晚,我步行去社区图书馆。当我靠近十字路口时,白色的人行信号灯正一闪一闪地从数字“9”往下跳——我有充足的时间穿过狭窄的2号街。我的脑子里闪现一个念头,就是小跑几步过去,但我没有这样做,还是保持着正常的步调。

这一瞬间下意识的决定救了我的命——否则,至少也是半死。当我大步流星走到路中央,经过一辆正在等候信号灯的车前面,另一辆车左转弯(从我右边,驶出我身后走过的街道),从我眼前不到两英寸的地方呼啸而过。我本能地猛收住脚,听到开车的那位爷们(车窗是开着的)嗓了一声:“狗屎!”

在车无影无踪的刹那间,我意识到差一点儿我就完蛋了。

我满脑袋的白日梦一下子没了,被这突然一击弄得目瞪口呆……缓过神来。如果我多走两步我将被一辆时速至少25英里的汽车撞个正着。尽管我平时就是一个小心翼翼的步行者——从来不玩耳麦——但这一刻的疏忽险些要了我的命,或被弄成半残。

据国家高速路安全管理局提供的数据,2006年美国的步行者4784人死于车祸,6.1万多人伤于车祸(加上骑自行车的,伤亡人数还要多出六倍)。尽管这些年这个数字已呈下降趋势,但与如此冷酷的现实相比没有什么值得欣慰的——我险些成为这些统计数字中的一个。

人行信号灯闪烁的时候,我的脑子告诉我,我站在人行道上,我拥有路权!何况外面还亮着呢。告诉警察、验尸官或悲伤的亲朋好友,这样的想法根本不值一提。如果我们能够听到那4784位车祸死亡者中任何一位的想法,我打赌他们多是异口同声地说着这种毫无用处的断言。

我侥幸地活了下来。这次几乎发生的碰撞事件令人战栗的思考淡去之后,我时常想起我已故的母亲半个世纪前那句简单而明智的忠告,每个人都听说过:过马路的时候往两边看看!绝无例外。提醒任何一位你认识的人都这样做吧。如果你在方向盘的后面,对行人和骑车的人真是要当心啊。

如果那位飙车的司机读到这篇文章,我要说:无论如何你没有必要把人行道上的一个大活人,撞成粉身碎骨,再驮着他到你的坟墓里去。谢天谢地至少今天我躲过了一劫。还活着呢。



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