圣诞节的真谛 The True Spirit of Christmas

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02-03  作者:Carolyn S. Steele 文 / 王善武 译 /  来源:《英语世界》

The True Spirit of Christmas
圣诞节的真谛
(选自《英语世界》2011年第12期)

If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.
如果不能改变命运,那就改变态度。

By Carolyn S. Steele  卡罗林·S. 斯蒂尔 著  王善武 译 肖文 审订

One more hour, I thought. Just one more hour and I’m free. It was Christmas Eve and I was stuck in beauty college. It wasn’t fair. I had better things to do than wait on fussy *old women with blue hair1. I had worked hard and fast to get four shampoo-sets and one manicure finished before lunch. If I had no more appointments scheduled, I could leave at two o’clock. Just one more…

再过一个小时,我想,只需再过一个小时,我就自由了。今天是圣诞夜,我却被困在美容学校,这不公平。比起伺候挑剔的蓝发老女人,我有更好的事情做。我卖力地干活儿,速度飞快,午饭前给四个人洗了头、做了发,还给一个人修了指甲。如果没有更多的预约活儿派给我,我两点钟就可以离开了。只需再过一个……

[2] "Number seventy-one. Carolyn, number seventy-one."

The receptionist’s voice over the intercom made my heart fall to my stomach.

"You have a phone call."

A phone call. I exhaled a sigh of relief and headed up front to take the call.

[2] “71号。卡罗琳,71号。”

接待员的声音从对讲机里传来,我的心一下子沉了下去。
“有你的电话。”

原来是电话。我松了口气,走到前台去接电话。

[3] As I reached for the phone, I gave the appointment pad a cursory glance to confirm my freedom. I couldn’t believe it. I had a 4:30 perm. No one in her right mind would have her hair done on Christmas Eve. NO one would be so inconsiderate.

[3] 我一边伸手拿电话,一边匆匆扫了眼预约本,以确定自己自由了。可我简直无法相信,4:30我还有一个烫发的活儿。头脑正常的人都不会在圣诞夜做头发的。没有人会如此不替别人着想。

[4] I glared at the receptionist behind the counter. "How could you do this?"

She took a step backward and whispered, "Mrs. Weiman scheduled you." Mrs Weiman was the senior instructor, *the biddy of the ball2. When she spoke, no one argued.

[4] 我怒视柜台后的接待员。“你怎么能这样?”

她向后退了一步,低声说:“是韦曼夫人给你安排的。”韦曼夫人是资深教员,这儿她说了算。只要她发了话,没人会争辩。

[5] "Fine," I hissed and turned to the phone. It was Grant. His grandmother had invited me to Christmas Eve dinner, and could I be ready by three o’clock? I fingered the diamond snowflake necklace he had given me the night before. Swallowing *the lump in my throat3, I explained the situation. After an interminable silence, he said we’d make it another time and hung up. Tears stung my eyes as I slammed the phone down and barricaded myself behind my station.

[5] “明白了。”我嘘了一声,转向电话。是格兰特打来的,他的祖母邀请我圣诞夜共进晚餐,问我三点钟能否准备好。我用手指摩挲着他昨天晚上送我的钻石雪花项链,努力抑制住哽咽,解释了此时的情况。长长的沉默之后,他说我们可以另择时间,便挂断了电话。我砰地放下电话,躲到了自己的台子后面,眼泪刺得眼睛直痛。

[6] The afternoon hung bleak and gray, echoing my mood. Most of the other students had gone home. I had no other patrons until the 4:30 perm, and I spent the time at my station, stewing4.

[6] 这个下午阴冷灰暗,恰似我的心情。其他学生大多都回家了。4:30的烫发任务之前我没有其他顾客。我待在台子边,焦虑不安。

[7] At about 4:15, Mrs. Weiman stuck her pinched face around my mirror and advised me in her soft, no nonsense tone, "Change your attitude before she gets here," then quietly stepped away.

[7] 大约4:15,韦曼夫人清瘦的面庞出现在我的镜子里,她温和而严肃地说:“在那位女士到这儿之前,你要改变态度。”说完就静静地走开了。

[8] My number was called at 4:45. My tardy, inconsiderate patron had arrived. I strode brusquely up front to greet a very shriveled, frail old woman gently supported by her husband. With a tender voice, Mrs. Weiman introduced me to Mrs. Sussman and began escorting her to my station. Mr. Sussman followed us, mumbling his apologies for bringing her in so late.

[8] 4:45,我的编号被传叫,那位不体谅别人的顾客姗姗来迟。我鲁莽地大步向前,迎面碰上一位非常枯瘦、弱不禁风的老太太,她丈夫小心翼翼搀扶着她。韦曼夫人用很柔和的声音将我介绍给萨斯曼夫人,然后护送她到我的台子。萨斯曼先生跟在后面,为带她来晚了而喃喃致歉。

[9] I was still feeling *put upon5, but I tried not to show it. Mrs. Weiman cradled Mrs. Sussman closely as she lowered her into my chair. *When she began raising the hydraulic pump, I feigned a smile and took over, stepping on the foot pump6. Mrs. Sussman was so small, I had to raise the chair to its full height.

[9]我仍然感觉被人利用,但尽量不表现出来。韦曼夫人紧紧抱扶着萨斯曼夫人,将她放到我的理发椅上。当韦曼夫人开始升高液压泵时,我佯作微笑,接过活儿,踩着脚泵。萨斯曼夫人非常瘦小,我不得不将椅子升到最高。

[10] I placed a towel and plastic drape around her shoulders, then jumped back, aghast. Lice and mites were crawling over her scalp and shoulders. As I stood there trying not to retch, Mrs. Weiman reappeared, putting on plastic gloves.

[10] 我将一条毛巾和塑料围布裹在她的肩膀上,当即吃惊地向后跳去,她的头皮和肩上爬满了虱子和螨虫。我站在那里极力控制着自己不要吐,这时韦曼夫人再次出现,戴上了塑料手套。

[11] Mrs. Sussman’s gray top knot was so matted, we couldn’t pull the hairpins out. Mrs. Weiman explained that we’d have to cut her hair to get the mat out, and Mrs. Sussman just looked at us with tears streaming down her cheeks.

[11] 萨斯曼夫人灰白的顶髻乱蓬蓬的,我们无法将发夹拔出来。韦曼夫人解释说,我们必须剪去她的头发,才能把这团乱发解开,萨斯曼夫人听后只是泪流满面地看着我们。

[12] "Her hair was her pride all of her life," her husband explained. "She put it up like that on the morning I took her to the nursing home."

Evidently her hair hadn’t been combed or cleaned since that morning nearly a year before. His eyes misted over, and he shuffled to the waiting room.

[12] “她的头发是她终生的骄傲,”她的丈夫解释说,“我带她去疗养院的那个早晨,她把头发梳成了这个样子。”

显然,自从将近一年前的那个早晨以来,她的头发就再也没有梳洗过。老先生的眼睛有些模糊了,他拖着脚步走向休息室。

[13] Mrs. Weiman cut the matted top knot gently away, revealing a withered scalp peeling with yellow decay. A perm would eat through her scalp like acid. It was out of the question. We bathed her scalp gently, trying to dislodge the lice without tearing her hair out. I dabbed antiseptic ointment on her festering sores and twisted her sparse hair into pin curls. The curls were held in place by gel, for we didn’t dare scrape her scalp with clips. Then we gently fanned her curls dry near the warmth of the radiator.

[13] 韦曼夫人轻轻地剪去缠作一团的顶髻,露出萎缩的头皮,带着脱落的黄色腐物。烫发会像酸一样腐蚀掉她的头皮,根本不可能。我们轻柔地为她洗了头皮,尽量去除虱子,而不扯下头发。我在她的溃疡处轻轻抹上了消毒软膏,将她稀疏的头发做成小卷。这些小卷由发胶固定,我们不敢用夹子,怕划到她的头皮。然后,我们小心地用电暖炉烘干了她的卷发。

[14] Mrs. Sussman slipped a palsied7 hand into her tiny bag and drew out a tube of lipstick and a pair of white lace gloves. Mrs. Weiman dabbed the lipstick softly on her lips, then carefully threaded the shaking hands into the dainty gloves. My thoughts were drawn to my grandmother, who had recently passed away——how she always put on lipstick before walking to the mailbox on the curb. I thought of the stories she told of her youth, when no proper lady would be seen in public without her gloves. Tears formed in my eyes as I silently thanked God for having taken her with dignity.

[14] 萨斯曼夫人一只手颤抖着伸进她的小手袋,拿出一管口红和一副白色的蕾丝手套。韦曼夫人将口红轻轻抹在她的嘴唇上,然后小心地将她一双颤巍巍的手戴进那副精美的手套。我的思绪飘向了刚刚过世的祖母——她出门去看路边的邮箱前,总要抹上口红。我想起了她讲的她年轻时的故事,那时在公众场合淑女都带手套。我默默地感激上帝一直让她保有尊严,此时泪水充溢了我的双眼。

[15] When he saw his wife, their mutual tears flowed unchecked. "Oh, my dear," he whispered, "you’ve never looked lovelier."

Her lips trembled in a smile.

[15] 当老先生看见妻子时,两人泪水如注。“啊,亲爱的,”他低声说,“你太漂亮了。”

老太太的嘴唇颤抖着,露出微笑。

[16] He reached into his coat pocket and presented Mrs. Weiman and me each with a small *Nativity set8: Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus. They were small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. I was filled with love for this man and his sweet wife. For perhaps the first time in my life, I knew the true spirit of Christmas.

[16] 老先生将手伸进上衣口袋,掏出两个关于耶稣诞生的圣诞小摆件,送给我和韦曼夫人,摆件里有约瑟、马利亚和小耶稣,他们小得刚好能放在我的掌心上。我的内心充溢着对这对恩爱夫妻的爱。可能是生平第一次,我明白了圣诞节的真谛。

[17] We walked the Sussmans up front. There would be no fee this night. We wished them a merry Christmas and saw them outside. It was snowing lightly, the first snowfall of the season. The flakes looked like powdered diamonds. I thought briefly of Grant and the dinner I had missed and knew that on this Christmas Eve, his grandmother would understand.

[17] 我们陪着萨斯曼夫妇走到前台。今晚不收费。我们祝愿他们圣诞快乐,目送他们出了门。外面下起了小雪,这个冬天的第一场雪,雪花看上去就像蒙霜的钻石。我一时想起了格兰特和我错过的晚餐,我知道,在这个圣诞夜,他的祖母会理解的。

 

Notes注释:

1.并非老太太真的有蓝头发,很多老太太会用一种蓝色的染发剂来掩盖白发中的黄发,以展示一头漂亮的银发。
2.= the lady of the ball最受关注的女士;最具权威的女士。biddy女人,多指老妇。
3.a lump in one's throat因情感波动而哽咽,如鲠在喉;[喻]情感被压抑的状态。
4.stew[非正式]焦急;烦恼。
5.欺骗;利用。
6.这里描述的是操作理发椅的情景。理发椅通常带有液压泵调节高度,正常情况下,美发师脚踩踏脚架即可任意调节椅子高度。
7.中风的;颤抖的。
8.指的是呈现耶稣诞生情景的基督教工艺品,多为耶稣诞生马槽组,一般都有马利亚、马利亚之夫约瑟和婴儿耶稣。Nativity耶稣诞生(图);圣诞节。
 

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杂志简介

由商务印书馆主办的《英语世界》杂志创刊于1981年。该刊是一本面向大学师生及其他英语爱好者的阅读学习类刊物,系中国第一家英汉对照的英语学习杂志。该刊宗旨是“文拓视野、译悦心灵”,向以内容新颖、形式活泼而著称。创刊以来,由于选文隽永雅致,刊中文章经常受到《读者》、《青年文摘》等杂志转载。先后荣获 “编校质量奖”、“全国百种重点社科期刊”、“国家期刊提名奖”、 “优秀期刊奖”等荣誉。2009年,中国期刊协会授予该刊“新中国60年有影响力的期刊”证书。
欢迎在邮局订购《英语世界》杂志,邮发代号为2-445

主编简介

  • 陈羽纶陈羽纶(1917~2010),《英语世界》杂志首任主编,教授级资深编审。 曾多年担任英语教科书、英语读物、英语词典的编译及审订工作。1988年作为翻译家被收入《中国翻译家词典》,1988~1989年美国纽约大学、英国布鲁内尔大学与英国基尔大学访问学者。1991年被国家人事部定为早期回国定居有特殊贡献专家,享受国务院发放一级津贴待遇。2003年12月获中国出版工作者协会、中国韬奋基金会颁发的第八届中国韬奋出版奖。

  • 徐式谷徐式谷(1935~ ),江苏扬州人,《英语世界》第二任主编,北京商务印书馆编审,前副总编辑,中国译协理事、副秘书长,重庆大学兼职教授,第九届、第十届全国政协委员。有《笛福文选》等译著多种,并发表过多篇译学文论,被中国翻译协会授予“资深翻译家”称号,被中国期刊协会授予“新中国60年有影响力期刊人”称号。

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