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《没有“中国制造”的一年》第七章: 仲夏之嗔(五)

(2011-08-02 07:58:11)









分类: 胡译赏析

《没有“中国制造”的一年》第七章: <wbr>仲夏之嗔(五)

                                                   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(五)

          It’s my first trip to the new downtown ballpark and I should be paying attention to what’s around me.The new stadium is the biggest thing to hit my hometown of San Diego in years. Larry Welk, grandson of the late music man Lawrence Welk,jogs onto the field to throw out the first pitch. I study him on the ballpark’s big screen. He’s chubby, deeply tanned, and wearing a T-shirt, a garment that I doubt his grandfather owned. I think I spy something familiar in the profile.


      I’d like to take in the scene properly, with misty eyes and a heart swelling with memories of ball games past, but I’m distracted by the letters stamped on the outside of the package resting in my lap. It’s a vinyl zip-up cooler paid for by the Welk family to promote a resort they own north of the city.The font of the letters is at least an inch high, so I can’t miss the message on the package: Made in China.

Do you think I should give this back?” I ask Kevin.We’ve settled into our seats and already he’s opened his own free cooler, inspected it to his satisfaction, and tucked it under his seat.




Keep it,”he says.“I’m keeping mine.”

But look at the letters,” I say.

I try to show him the Made in China label, but he waves me off. He’s busy heckling Cincinnati and drinking a beer.

My younger brother, sitting on my other side, tries to be helpful.






   I think you should keep it because it’s a gift,” he says.“I bought the tickets, so they were a gift, and the cooler came with the tickets, so it’s a gift, too. I think you can keep it in good conscience.”

My brother’s a sweet kid, but I am not so sure this cooler is a gift. It’s not even wrapped. And I could have refused it at the gate, where a spirited Latina teenager shoved it into my hands as I pushed through the turnstile.




Merry Christmas,” she said.

She tossed one to Kevin behind me.

Happy Birthday,” she told him.





         Now, as I study the package in my lap, I picture myself marching back to the entrance gate and handing my free cooler back to the girl. I’d work my facial features into some appropriately pathetic configuration before handing her the unopened cooler and saying something like,“I’m sorry.I cannot accept this free Chinese cooler from the Welk family. It has to do with a New Year’s resolution, which I’m starting to regret, right about now.Thanks, anyway.”



        I cut my vision short before I have to watch what happens next. It’s too excruciating to imagine what that girl might say if I tried to return the cooler, but I bet she’d have some choice words, and no shortage of them either. She isn’t one to suffer fools gladly, I could see that in an instant. No, there is no way I can return my Chinese cooler if it involves facing up to that girl.



       Next I entertain the option of “forgetting” the cooler under my seat after the game is over, or stuffing it into the bushes on the way out, for somebody else to find, but these strike me as unsatisfactory, and, of course, there’s still the matter of Kevin’s Chinese cooler. Not in a thousand years will he give it up.



         Besides, I like my Chinese cooler. Correction: I love my Chinese cooler. On the outside is a detailed color illustration of the San Diego harbor, including the new ballpark and the looming towers of condos and office buildings that surround it. It’s quite well done, if also spectacularly tacky.We could fill this thing with beer and chips and have grand times at the beach, starting tomorrow.

All the same, the thought of keeping the cooler makes me uneasy.




        I’ve bent the boycott rules before—for heaven’s sake, we’ve openly broken them on at least three or four occasions—but I feel that at a certain point you have to get serious and start toeing the line if you are going to bother to have a boycott in the first place. In my mind I do a fast rundown of our violations to date: the mandarin oranges, Kevin’s ill-gotten birthday pool, the fish stickers, the paintbrushes, not to mention all the loot that entered the house on the boycott’s gift technicality. Now there is the matter of the Chinese cooler, which doesn’t fit neatly in the category of a gift, no matter what my younger brother says.



           I turn to look at Kevin. He’s stepped up his abuse of Cincinnati and started to draw looks from the people sitting around us, appreciative looks that egg him on.

Cheater!” he yells after Cincinnati gets a clean single.

     我转过去看凯文。他已经升级到骂辛辛那提队了,引得坐在我们周围的人都在看他, 人们赞赏的目光让他更起劲了。



      We are seated in the top row of the stadium so Kevin really has to put his heart into it if there’s any hope of Cincinnati feeling the sting of his words. He does put his heart into it. He also tackles a basket of nachos, cons my brother into buying him a second beer, and makes friends with the bewildered French high-school exchange student sitting next to him. In other words, he has the time of his life while I clutch my Chinese cooler with moist hands and stir myself up with worry about the boycott. I don’t keep track of the game’s score. I’m not looking when everybody starts to do the wave and I miss my cue, standing up too late. My nachos give me a stomachache.



          I’d like to be able to say that this is an unusual set of circumstances, but that’s hardly the case. Variations on this scene have played out a thousand times over the years of our marriage: Kevin winning over a crowd of strangers with loud irony, and me ducking down in my seat and hoping they won’t notice me.



       During a quiet spell, I straighten up and turn to look behind me over the edge of the stadium. Beyond the ballpark is an industrial neighborhood of warehouses and train tracks, and beyond that I can see the deep blue of San Diego bay.Above the crowd I hear the clang of a crossing signal as a slow train rolls along the tracks. I don’t know where it’s headed, or what’s in its cars, but that doesn’t stop me from reaching a fast conclusion about what it’s carrying. More stuff from China.



         I turn and give Kevin another look. He’s happy now, but tomorrow morning, when the crowd and the nachos are distant memories, his bitter mantra of recent days will start again. He’ll zing me for three vacation crimes connected to the boycott. No squirt guns. No sunglasses for Wes. And no flip-flops on his own feet. I’ve been stalling on all three fronts, mostly by ignoring him, but that strategy is looking less effective by the day.

I’m running out of options. Kevin is running out of patience.





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