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《没有“中国制造”的一年》第六章:发明之母 (五)

(2011-06-23 08:56:58)









分类: 胡译赏析

《没有“中国制造”的一年》第六章:发明之母 <wbr>(五)

                                                          Year Without Made in China

Sara Bongiorni



                                      胡宗锋  苦丁  (译)

                                                   Chapter Six       Mothers of Invention

                                                        第六章             发明之母(五)

      The television apparently heals itself.The screen hasn’t gone dark in a couple of weeks. I consider the matter closed. Over the phone, Kevin tells me he will take the DVD player to a repair shop near our house when he gets back from France.


     “The guy there is some kind of genius when it comes to fixing stuff,”he says.“He’ll figure it out,no problem.”

I come up short in finding a fix only for the blender. I move it onto a shelf in the laundry room for the time being—careful to make sure the coast is clear, mouse-wise, when I open the cupboard—in the hope that Kevin won’t ask about it upon his return.



       No sooner have I cleared up my electronics problems than I run into new sunglasses trouble. The delicate metal filigree on my old Italian sunglasses is coming apart.A lens pops out of the thin plastic wire that holds it in place. I retrieve one of the flimsy Chinese pairs that came from Kevin’s department secretary, but a day or two later I drop it on the concrete floor of the bathroom during a field trip to the zoo with Wes’s preschool class. The glasses break decisively into two pieces on the floor. I recover the pieces and drop them in the overflowing trash can, a fitting exit to their brief, unsatisfactory appearance in our lives.


      I find a low-tech solution to the lack of sunglasses: squinting.

To stay positive, I try not to think of three things: the useless printer, the broken drawer in the kitchen, and the fact that we’ve just run out of Chinese staples.

“It’s considered a rude question,” Kevin tells me over the phone.

“Then how do people in Europe know where the things they buy come from?” I ask him.

“Apparently, for the most part, they don’t,” he says.“Unless they ask, and, like I said, that’s generally considered impolite. I get a lot of funny looks when I ask that.”






       In the days before Kevin left for France I realized that his time abroad might serve a handy purpose. He could load up on toys and trinkets made in France to give us a leg up on the looming Christmas holiday.This is sneaky and seems to run counter to the spirit of the boycott, but I’m really worried about Christmas and, technically, there is nothing in the boycott rules to prevent it. It turns out my sneaky idea is a loser. Kevin has been striking out as he visits the shops and markets of Paris in search of goods made in France.


      He recounts his efforts so far. One day he is about to pay for three Eiffel Tower key chains from a man at a street market when he remembers to ask the man where they were made.

“En Chine,” the man replies. In China.

Kevin dutifully holds them out to the man to return them.




        “When I explained to the guy why I couldn’t buy them, he was really understanding,” he tells me. “He asked me where I was from and then told me it’s because of Chinese imports and thirty years of bad French government that the only way he can make a living is selling things on the black market.”


       Kevin encounters other kindred spirits among the French.When he goes to a menswear shop to order a suit and asks where they are made, the girl tells him more and more customers are asking the same question. She tells Kevin about the customer who tried on a pair of pants but then decided against buying them because they were made in China.


Mostly he gets blank, even hostile, looks.

“The clerk at the grocery store walked away from me without answering when I asked where a T-shirt was made,” he says. “I think he considered it harassment.”



He assures me he will continue to scout for French gifts, despite hostile clerks.

“I’ll be honest with you,” he cautions.“France is pretty Chinese, too.”

Meanwhile, the mouse lays low before resurfacing, bolder than before.







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