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《没有“中国制造”的一年》第七章: 仲夏之嗔(二)

(2011-07-24 07:38:32)









分类: 胡译赏析

《没有“中国制造”的一年》第七章: <wbr>仲夏之嗔(二)

                            Year Without Made in China

Sara Bongiorni



                                      胡宗锋  苦丁  (译)

                CHAPTER SEVEN Summer of Discontent

     第七章      仲夏之嗔(二)

That night, after the children are in bed, I funnel broken cookies and bits of chocolate into an empty milk jug. I place the jug on its side on the tiled counter next to the sink. Next I take a small, unopened can of tuna and place it below the opening of the jug as a makeshift stepping stool to help the mouse climb inside the jug.Then I hit the lights, head for bed, and wait for the sound of wobbling plastic, or maybe cookies being chewed by a tiny jaw. My trap is weak when it comes to an alarm mechanism, but our bedroom is adjacent to the kitchen and I feel certain that I will hear something to alert me to the mouse’s cap-ture.When I do, I will rise without sound, slip silently into the kitchen, grab the jug with the mouse inside, quickly turn it upright, and then plug the opening with the dish towel before it knows what’s hit it.The next day we will drive to the lake and release the mouse near the rich people’s houses, as Kevin has suggested. It will stagger off into the weeds, grateful for our mercy and groggy on too much sugar. End of mouse. End of story. Another winning episode in our battle to overcome the limits imposed on our lives by the China boycott.


I don’t see how I can miss with this one.

Twice that night, scratching noises wake me and I rise to tiptoe into the kitchen.Twice I am disappointed when I grab the jug, plug the hole with the towel, flip on the lights, and learn that I have trapped only chocolate and cookies inside.

It’s the same story on the second night: wake, creep, cap the jug, sag with disappointment.

On the third morning Kevin looks sternly at me over his mug of coffee.

It’s time to get serious,” he says.







I am taken aback by Kevin’s resolve. I thought he’d have yet another change of heart and start pushing again for a humane Chinese trap. I know him to have a soft spot for wild creatures, although whether a suburban mouse qualifies as wild is open for debate. Kevin likes to watch birds; he can tell you the difference between a nuthatch and a gnatcatcher. He captures spiders in the house in paper towels and shakes them free in the backyard. The year he lived in Alaska as a teenager his tender feelings for wild animals even threatened his and his older brother’s winter survival plan. After the carnival where they worked closed for the season, the boys moved to an abandoned wilderness cabin nine miles from the village of Kasilof. They figured they could survive the snowy months on Tang, cornmeal mush, and whatever they could shoot.The plan fell apart when Kevin could not bring himself to pull the trigger on the .22 revolver even when a flock of plump ground fowl gathered to peck in the dirt around his feet.



It was too easy to shoot something too dumb to be scared,” he told me years later.

The brothers moved back to Anchorage, where Kevin sold stuffed animals and Christmas trees. His brother got a job at a loading dock, a position that required him to trudge seven miles through the snow each morning. They returned to California in the spring with hands untainted by the blood of Alaskan wildlife.




All of which is to say that I learn something about human nature, or Kevin’s nature, on this July morning three decades later. I learn that the passing of 30 years, the pride of home ownership, and the devastation of a stack of expensive French chocolate bars by an aggressive mouse can change a lot of things about a man, including his sentimental feelings toward members of the animal kingdom.



The traps, please,” Kevin repeats over his cup.

I point to the door of the laundry room.

In there,”I say.“Watch your fingers.”





        Kevin snares the mouse on the first go-round after setting the killer American trap under the sink, which is why I am so surprised to discover the mouse running along the floorboard of the laundry room a couple of days later. No wonder it covered so much turf in the days before Kevin’s return. It had friends, or maybe relatives.

Kevin returns to the hardware store and loads up on American traps.We catch three more mice that week.

That should do it,” he says, one morning, after checking under the sink.“I think we’re out of the mouse business.”





   His optimism seems premature, but I don’t say anything. Kevin is rolling with the boycott’s punches these days and I don’t want to spoil his good mood. Since his return from France he has set about fixing up the household with cheerful pragmatism. Boycott-related complications do nothing to derail his sunny disposition. He drops off the jammed CD player at a local repair shop with instructions to the owner not to fix it if he has to use Chinese parts to get it working again.The owner assures him that “we get all our parts here locally, not from China.”



Kevin doesn’t press the issue with the man.

I didn’t want to mention that the store where you buy parts doesn’t really have anything to do with where they are made,”he says.“I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.”




         Kevin rigs an old set of metal rabbit ears on top of the television to improve the picture. He doesn’t mention the broken blender, the broken printer, or the lack of staples, which he hasn’t yet discovered. He’s given up his battle with the stuck kitchen drawer; I haven’t caught him tugging on the handle even once in the days since he’s been home. I worry that maybe we have hit a wall when we run out of glue and discover Elmer’s is made in China, but Kevin runs around town without complaint until he locates a glue stick from Canada.



I suspect the good times won’t last long, but I decide to enjoy them while they do.

I don’t claim special powers of mental telepathy. Perhaps I should.





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