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《没有“中国制造”的一年》第一章(二)

(2010-12-28 09:54:40)
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分类: 胡译赏析

                                  《没有“中国制造”的一年》第一章(二)                                                        《美文》2011年第一期

 

                                A Year without Made in China

Sara Bongiorni

                                          《没有“中国制造”的一年》

                                                          (美)萨拉·邦乔妮

                                                                               胡宗锋  苦 丁  (译)

CHAPTER   ONE

Farewell, My Concubine

第一章

霸王别姬

(二)

“In any case, we can go back to our old ways next January,” I say. “China will be waiting for us. China will always be there to take us back.”

“不管怎样,明年一月份时我们又回归原来的生活。“中国”将会等我们, “中国”随时会让我们回来的。”

I check Kevin’s profile. He has decided to wait me out. It is his standard strategy, with good reason; it works nearly every time. When we disagree, he clams up, stands back, and lets me trip over my own feet. I remember seeing this same hazy look in his eyes, years ago, when I brought home a stray dog one afternoon and asked if we could keep it. Kevin paused at the front gate and said nothing.The beast sealed its fate when it erupted in snarls and charged Kevin, refusing to let him on the property. Kevin never uttered a word.

我观察着凯文的表情,他已决心等我讲完。这是他的一贯策略,几乎每次如此。每当我们意见不和时,他保持沉默,不和我针锋相对,而是等我把自己绊倒。还记得几年前我也看到过类似的表情,当时我带回一只流浪狗并问他我们能否留下它,他在前门那边停下一言不发,小狗狂吠着不让他亲近,这注定它不能住进来了。自始至终凯文一句话都没说。

I see now that it’s time to pull out a big gun. I try to sound nonchalant.

我决定使用杀手锏—装作无所谓的样子。

“Some people said giving up Wal-Mart would be tough,” I say. “I can’t say we’ve missed a thing.”

“曾经有人说不去沃尔玛是件多么困难的事,我就不觉得有什么。”

At first, boycotting Wal-Mart seemed silly to me. I couldn’t see the difference between Wal-Mart and places like Kmart and Target when it came to issues like wiping out mom-and-pop stores and worker pay. True, I’d had a few unsavory personal experiences at the ancient Wal-Mart near our home. I had seen a man scream at an exhausted baby and on more than one occasion watched dying cockroaches pedal spiky legs into the air as I stood in the neon glare of the checkout line waiting to pay for underwear and diapers.

刚开始的时候我觉得,抵制沃尔玛这种事情非常无稽。在排挤街头杂货店和压榨员工方面,沃尔玛和卡马特、塔吉特没什么区别。在附近原来的沃尔玛里倒是有过几次不愉快的经历:我曾看见一名男子对哭闹的小孩大喊大叫,在耀眼的霓虹灯下,排队为尿布和衬衣付款时,我还有好几次看到了垂死的尖头蟑螂。

Then there were the standard reasons for picking on Wal-Mart—its bullying of suppliers and the blight on the landscape left by its abandoned stores, among other things. What got me on board for a Wal-Mart boycott was when I read that it barred labor inspectors from the foreign factories that churn out the $8 polo shirts and $11 dresses that hang on its racks. Even then, I could think of two nice things to say about Wal-Mart: It lets people sleep in their recreational vehicles in its parking lots, and it saves consumers collectively billions of dollars on everything from Tide to pickles.

然后有了拒绝沃尔玛的正当理由:他们大肆压榨供货商,而其废置的小店看上去也很煞风景。我同意拒绝沃尔玛是因为读到报道说它拒绝国外工厂的监察,外国工厂辛苦做出的名牌衣服被他们以8美元和11美元的价格上架。尽管如此,我还是能找出来沃尔玛的好:他们允许人们开车在其停车场里睡觉,这一点可以让顾客从汰渍洗衣粉到泡菜等一切东西上省不少钱。

It occurs to me that the Wal-Mart embargo is a good trial run for a China ban, since much of what it sells comes from China. I know this, because I read the labels on a lot of boxes at Wal-Mart in our pre-Wal-Mart boycott days. Still, there is a key difference between a ban on Wal-Mart and one on Chinese goods. Ultimately, boycotting Wal-Mart requires just one thing: keeping your hands on the steering wheel and accelerating past the entrance to its vast parking lot. China, by comparison, blankets the shelves of retailers across the land, and not just the big-box stores but also perfumed boutiques and softly lit department stores and the pages of the catalogs that shimmy their way into millions of American mailboxes each day. China will not be so easily avoided.

沃尔玛的好多东西来自中国,于是我觉得拒绝沃尔玛刚好是抵制中国制造的热身。我知道得这么清楚是因为在决定拒绝沃尔玛前的那段时间,我看了他们商场很多盒子上的商标。但抵制沃尔玛和抵制中国有一个很关键的区别;说到底,抵制沃尔玛只需要做一件事———到了它宽阔的停车场入口处,手不离方向盘加速前进。相形之下,“中国”覆盖了我们国家很多零售商店的货架,不仅是“大盒子”式的商店,还包括香气四溢的精品店、有着柔和灯光的社区商店和每天的邮寄宣传单。要想避开“中国” 不那么容易。

I keep this last bit to myself. Besides, I can see that my Wal-Mart ploy has hit a nerve.The lines around Kevin’s mouth soften. His brow falls.He still has his eyes on the wall,but he is listening.A hostage negotiator would tell me I am making progress because I have him engaged. Keep him talking, the negotiator would tell me. Kevin had been slumped at the other end of the sofa but now he sits up and looks around the room. I try not to overplay my hand. I wait for him to make the next move. He turns his head and locks eyes with me.

“What about the coffeemaker?” he asks.

最后一条我没有说出来。再说,我发现我的“沃尔玛策略”还是有效的。凯文的嘴角蹦的松了,眉毛扬得也不那么高了,虽然目光还在墙上,但他在听我说话了。人质谈判专家会告诉我有了一些收效,因为他开始听我说了。“再接再厉”,谈判专家一定会这样指导我。凯文原来一直陷在沙发的另一头,现在他坐起来并且环视着客厅。我尽量让自己做的不要过火,等着他把球踢给我。他转过头盯着我,问道:

“咖啡机怎么办?”

 

He is thinking about the broken machine that still sits on the kitchen counter despite brewing its last cup a month earlier.We picked it up at Target a couple of years ago. It was a memorable episode because it was the first time we noted China’s grip on the market for an ordinary household item.We stood in the aisle for 20 minutes, turning over boxes and looking at labels. Every box came from China. We shrugged and picked out a sleek black machine with an eight-cup pot. It sputtered to a halt one morning in November, but we left it sitting there, hoping it would somehow come back to life.

他说的是一个月前坏掉但还放在厨房橱柜里的咖啡壶。那是我们几年前在塔吉特买的,非常有纪念意义,因为此乃我们第一次发现中国制造在市场上对一般家庭的吸引力。我们在过道里徘徊了20多分钟翻看盒子和标签,每一个都来自中国。没有办法。我们选了一个带有8个小杯子的黑色咖啡机。11月的一个早上它劈啪响着不工作了,但我们就把它一直那放着,希望有朝一日它自己好起来。

For weeks we have been boiling water and pouring it through a plastic filter on top of our coffee mugs. I don’t mind; it reminds me of camping trips to the mountains when we made coffee over the fire. But Kevin feels otherwise, and on cold mornings, when our kitchen takes on a cave-like chill and we are desperate for something hot, I can see his point. In asking about the coffeemaker, he wants to know if China is still fair territory in the search for a replacement.

几周来,我们都是把水烧开,再用咖啡机上的塑料过滤器冲咖啡的,我不在乎,这倒让我想起那次在山里野炊时在火上煮咖啡的经历。但是凯文却不然,早上很冷的时候,厨房简直就像个冰窖,我们都巴望着有什么热乎的东西。我看得出他的心思。问这个问题,他一定是想说还可不可以找个中国制造的来替换。

“It’s December twenty-seventh,”I say.“You’ve got four days.”

“今天是12月27号,你还有4天时间。”

Then I know I have him on board. He turns his head and looks over the chaos of the living room floor. He is making a mental list of other things he wants to add to our crowded household while he still has time. I say the place is half full but I can tell he would argue for half empty. I keep my mouth closed. This is no time to argue. In his mind he’s already making his shopping list and heading for the door, not once looking back. I picture a swirl of Chinese toys, socks, and shoes trailing after him before the door clicks to a close. Good riddance, I think, but my next thought surprises me. For a brief moment, I worry what we are in for.

现在我知道我们在同一艘船上了。他转过头看着地板上乱七八糟的物什,盘算着趁现在还有时间还能再添置些什么。我说这里已经堆了一半了,他一定会争辩说还有一半是空的。现在不是争辩的时候,我保持沉默。他脑子里已经有了一购物清单,头也不回地向门口走去,在他身后的门未合上之前,我脑海里旋转的是中国娃娃,短袜和鞋子。“谢天谢地!”,但再一想,自己也有点吃惊。一时间,我都纳闷为什么要这样。

 

Later, as I pick scraps of paper and torn boxes from the floor, I realize there will be additional complications, by which I mean my mother, a Greek chorus of one.

随后收拾地板上的碎纸屑和破盒子时,我意识到还有其它的麻烦。那就是我妈妈,又一个难说服的对象。

At 71, her sense of injustice is undiminished as that of a freshman philosophy major, which is what she was in 1951. Her preferred topics for discussion are the Old Testament, the birds in her backyard, proper English grammar, and the suffering of the poor, in no particular order. Her favorite rule is the golden one, and when she hears about our plans for a China boycott, she will suspect me of breaking it. She will think I am picking on an underdog breaking into the big leagues after ages in the muck. She will see a delicious opening for an argument.

妈妈今年71岁,仍然像她1951年上大学哲学系一年纪时那样爱钻牛角尖。喜爱讨论《旧约》,后院的小鸟,英语语法,以及受苦受难的穷人,也不讲什么先来后到。她的话就是金科玉律。当她听到我的计划,一定会怀疑我能否坚持下来,她会认为我是在挑剔一个在底层奋斗了几十年,闯进了大联赛的弱者。起初的争论一定很精彩。

“How would you like it if someone boycotted you?” she will begin.

“如果有人对你这样,你会有何感想?”她肯定会这样开始。

Then she will pause to wonder if, perhaps, I am my mother’s daughter after all.

然后会稍微停顿,想一想我到底是不是她亲生的。

“Is it for human rights?” she will ask next. “Is it for the Chinese workers, suffering like slaves in those awful factories?”

“这是为了人权吗?”她接着会问。“为了像奴隶一样在万恶的车间工作的中国工人吗?”

My mother loves all mankind, and one of the ways she loves it is by arguing with it. In her world, there are no unworthy opponents. She has never uttered the words, Who cares what they think? She cares what everybody thinks, especially when they think the wrong things, in which case she views it as her duty to help them see the error of their ways. Once, during a trip to the Santa Monica Pier when I was eight or nine, I watched in terror as she argued with a huge, shirtless biker over whether the starfish he had gripped in his fist had the same number of points as the Star of David.

妈妈爱人类,其方式之一就是以这个为话题进行讨论。用她的话说,没有不值得的对手。她从来不说“谁在乎他们怎么想?”她在乎的是大家的想法,尤其是大家想错了的时候,这样她会觉得纠正大家是她义不容辞的责任。我八九岁时,我们去圣莫尼卡旅行,我非常恐惧地看到她和一个身形高大、光着膀子骑自行车的人,为他手里的海星和大卫之星的星星数是否同样多而争个不休。

“The Star of David!” he exclaimed to nobody in particular, thrusting the dead creature toward the sky and careening across the planks of the pier.

“大卫之星!”他把那条死海星举向天空,旁若无人的喊着,弄得船都倾斜了。

My mother walked up to him.

我妈妈朝他走过去。

“The Star of David has six points,” she said.

“大卫之星有六个点。”她说。

“Five points!” he roared.

“五个!”他咆哮着。

“Six,” she said.

“六个!”。

“Five!” he shot back.

“五个!”他不甘示弱。

 

A crowd began to gather. Silently, I wished for two things. First, that the biker would not kill my mother. Second, that the great planks of wood beneath my feet would shatter into splinters and I would careen downward into the sucking waves of the Pacific, 20 feet below, never to be seen again. The day was half lucky. The biker staggered off down the pier without violence to my mother but I remained firmly planted on the wood.

人群开始围拢过来了。我默默祈祷着两件事情。一,那个骑车的人别把妈妈杀了。二,脚下的船板碎裂,把我掉进20英尺下面太平洋里的海浪里去,从此永远消失。那天有一半的运气,那个骑车的人摇晃着下了船,没有对我妈动武,而我却一直像被插在船上的木板上一样,稳如磐石。

“No, it’s not for Chinese workers,” I will answer when my mother takes her first jab at me over the China boycott.

“不,不是为了中国工人,”在我妈妈为抵制中国这个问题一个直拳打过来时,我会这样说。

“Is it for the American workers, then? For the ones who have lost jobs to China?”

“难道是为了美国工人?为了那些为了中国而失业的美国工人?”

“No, it’s not for them either.”

“不,也不是为了他们。”

“Is it for Tibet?”

“为了西藏?”

“It’s not for Tibet, either, Mother,” I will say, “although it could be. Maybe it should be. Probably it should be, but it’s not politics.”

“也不是为了西藏,妈妈,”我说,“或许如此,或者说应该如此,理应如此,但这与政治无关。”

“Then what is it?” she will ask.

“那关乎什么?”

“It’s an experiment,” I will tell her. “To see if it can be done.”

“这不过是个实验,”我将告诉她。“看看这样可不可行。”

“And can it be done?”

“可行吗?”

“I have no idea, Mother. That’s what we intend to find out.”

“我不知道,妈妈,所以我想试试看。”

She will be disappointed. The wind will slip from her sails. She won’t be able to sink her teeth into this one. The word experiment will throw her off the scent. I come from a family of scientists and teachers—deeply religious scientists and teachers. Among the members of my clan, objecting to an experiment, to the pursuit of fact and knowledge, is as unlikely as objecting to someone taking piano lessons. It can’t be done. There’s no ledge on which to gain purchase and launch a protest. I will shut down my mother before she can get started.

她肯定会很失望。风会绕过她的帆,这件事情她无法再插手,“实验”这一说法让她无懈可击。我出身在一个科教之家,家人是非常敬业、非常忠诚的科学家和教师。在我的家族里,反对实验,反对追求事实真相和知识,会如同反对学钢琴一样让人不可思议。那是不可能的,不能又买人家东西又抗议人家。在妈妈开口之前我就要将她的意见驳倒。

I ball up the wrapping paper in my hand and toss it into a plastic bag I retrieve from the floor, then throw myself onto the sofa to savor my imagined victory over my mother. I feel a little guilty, because it is not nice to squish your mother, even in the abstract, or to deny her a juicy exchange about the miseries of the world, especially when she lives two time zones to the west and you only talk to her once a week. I decide to postpone telling her about the boycott as long as I can.

我把从地板上收起的废纸捏成一个大团扔进垃圾袋,然后把自己扔进沙发里,陶醉在想象战胜妈妈的喜悦里。我感到有些愧疚,因为和妈妈对着干不好。即便是含糊其辞、或者否定妈妈对苦难饶有兴趣的讨论也不好,特别是妈妈住在离我两个时区以外的地方,我一周才和她通一次话。我决定尽量推迟告诉她抵制中国制造这件事的时间。

One of the children calls out for me from above. Naptime is over. I sigh a sigh of the sleep deprived, push myself to my feet and head for the stairs, and put away my mother, and China, for a while.

孩子在楼上喊我,午休结束了。我为自己为此失去睡眠叹了口气,拖着自己向楼梯走过去,暂时先把妈妈、中国和其它的一切放下罢。。

The children’s school is closed for the week so we spend the next four days chasing them around the house. It’s chilly outside so I let them go wild inside, turning a blind eye to Sofie jumping on the bed and Wes racing from room to room on a red scooter with a Dutch bell on the handle. Brrring, it clangs, as he loops the kitchen table and heads for the dining room. I make empty threats when he veers too close to his sister’s bare toes and real ones when he rolls directly over mine. I casually observe to myself that I am fast becoming one of those parents I swore I would never be, overly indulgent and ready to wheel and deal with the children over candy and television if it will buy me five minutes peace.

学校这周放假,所以接下来的四天我们要在家里度过。外面太冷了,只能对他们在屋里的折腾睁一只眼闭一只眼,苏菲在床上蹦来蹦去,维斯踩着带着荷兰铃铛的红色滑板在各个房间穿梭。“叮铃铃”,他正围着餐桌绕圈子,接着又向餐厅冲去。当他差点碾到她妹妹的光脚趾时,我就会佯装愤怒;但当他的的确确碾到了我时,我就来真格的了。不经意间我发现自己正在成为自己以前发誓也不会那样的妈妈,过度宠溺孩子,而且会为了一时的清净,放纵孩子吃糖或看电视。

Wes swerves by again.

维斯改变方向又来了一次。

“Watch it!” I shout.

“当心点!”我大喊。

He grins and speeds away.

他笑着加速离开。

When he’s not on his scooter,Wes is on his new Chinese walkie talkie. He distributes handsets to everybody, including his baby sister, so he can keep a close eye on our movements around the house.

放下滑板车,他开始玩弄那架中国制造的新对讲机。他将子机发给每个人,包括保姆,这样他可以掌握我们每个人的行动。

“What are you doing, Mama?” His voice comes over the handset high and scratchy, like he’s talking into a microphone under water. I pick up my handset and press a button with a wet thumb.

“妈妈,你在忙什么呢?”他又高又粗的声音刺啦刺啦地从听筒里传来,就像在水下对着麦克风讲话似的。我湿着手拿起听筒按下按钮。

“The dishes,” I say and release the button.

“做饭。”说完我松开按钮。

“Oh,” comes his fuzzy response. Then, about five seconds later, “What are you doing now?”

“哦,”他的声音含混不清,5秒钟后,“现在你在干啥呢?”

“The dishes,” I say.

“做饭。”

 

A little later, he buzzes me again.

没过多会,他又来了。

 

“What are you doing, Mama?”

“妈妈,忙什么呢?”

 

“Feeding the dog.”

“喂狗。”

 

“What are you going to do next?”

“喂完狗呢?”

 

“Some more dishes.”

“再做些菜。”

 

“Over,” he says.

“好吧。”

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