纽约时报双语笔记:永存之爱:一辆我无法放手的老爷车

永存之爱:一辆我无法放手的老爷车
On a Serpentine Road, With the Top Down
DORIS IAROVICI
2021年11月9日
纽约时报双语笔记:永存之爱:一辆我无法放手的老爷车

笔记导读

serpentine /’sɜːp(ə)ntaɪn/ 弯弯曲曲的;蜿蜒的;盘旋的;(Something that is serpentine is curving and winding in shape, like a snake when it moves.) ◆ the serpentine course of the river 蜿蜒曲折的河道 近义词: winding

tow truck  拖车;convertible 敞篷车;sedan 大轿车

refract /rɪ’frækt/ 使折射;(When a ray of light or a sound wave refracts or is refracted, the path it follows bends at a particular point, for example when it enters water or glass.)

snuff /snʌf/ 掐灭,闷熄;扼杀 (to stop a small flame from burning, especially by pressing it between your fingers or covering it with sth)

mob n暴民;黑社会;v.团团围住;成群围住 Her car was mobbed by the media… ◆ 她的车被媒体团团围住了。

litmus/’lɪtməs/ test 试金石;立见分晓的检验办法;(If you say that something is a litmus test of something, you mean that it is an effective and definite way of proving it or measuring it.) ◆ The outcome will be seen as a litmus test of government concern for conservation issues. 这结果将被视为检验政府是否关注自然资源保护问题的试金石。

双语全文

The skies opened up as I watched the tow truck winch my teal Alfa Romeo onto the flatbed. The 30-year-old convertible again refused to run, and as I dried the rain off my arms, I thought it was probably time to get rid of it.

看着拖车将我那辆青色的阿尔法·罗密欧拽上平板时,天上骤降倾盆大雨。这辆开了30年的敞篷车再次抛锚,在擦干手臂上的雨水时,我想,也许是时候把它处理掉了。

My husband loved this Spider, which our kids named the happy car. But before he succumbed to melanoma at 48, he specifically instructed us not to make the car a shrine. I held onto it anyway. I rarely drive it. I had intended to use it to teach our kids to drive a stick shift, but that never happened. I couldn’t bear them grinding those gears.

我丈夫很喜欢这款蜘蛛车型,我们的孩子给它取名快乐车。但在他48岁那年死于黑色素瘤之前,他特别嘱咐我们不要把这辆车当作某种纪念物。不过我还是把它留下了。我很少开它。本来我打算拿它来教孩子们开手动挡,但一直没有这样做。我怕他们把档位磨坏了。

The downpour ended the moment the tow truck left. Steam rose from the driveway and refracted the sudden sunshine. It was a sign, I told myself. Time to let go. I tried to ignore the immediate heaviness against my breastbone.

拖车一离开,大雨就停了。蒸汽从车道上升腾,折射出乍现的阳光。这是个预兆,我告诉自己。是时候放手了。我尽量不去理会突然压在心头的沉重。

The Alfa had to be towed 25 miles to a specialist’s shop. Years earlier, I upgraded my AAA membership to cover this recurring expense. I called the shop to describe the car’s current symptoms. The mechanic, who knows both the car and me, said: “You can’t just let it sit. A car like that, you need to either drive it or sell it.”

这辆阿尔法必须拖到25英里外的一家专业修车店。几年前,我升级了美国汽车协会的会员资格,以弥补这笔经常性开销。我打电话给店里,描述了这辆车眼下的问题。既熟悉这辆车也熟悉我的修理师傅说:“你不能一直放着。像这样的车,你要么开,要么卖。”

You’d think I’d be an expert in letting go by now.

你会认为我现在已经是放手达人了。

I let go of the notion that my family could be happy only if it included my husband, with whom I had shared every thought and feeling and plan for 20 years. I let go of a different happy-family configuration when our daughter, then our son, left for college. Though I dreaded the moment when both children would leave, I also saw how ready they were. For them, letting go of one thing meant making room to grab hold of an entire universe. And even apart, we remain close. We didn’t just survive but found ways to thrive.

我放下了必须跟我先生在一起家庭才会幸福的想法,而他是我在过去20年里分享每一个念头、感受和计划的人。当我们的女儿,然后是儿子离家上大学时,我放下了另一种幸福家庭的模式。虽然我害怕面对两个孩子都离开的那一刻,但我也看到他们早就做好了准备。对他们而言,一次放手意味着腾出空间去抓住整个世界。即使分开,我们仍然很亲密。我们不仅挺了过来,还找到了活出精彩的办法。

I let go of many other preconceived notions about how my life would play out when I forced myself to start dating again, a few years after my husband’s death. When I sat through meals with strangers whose tales of misery in love snuffed my appetite.

在丈夫去世几年后,我强迫自己重新开始约会时,我放下了许多关于我的人生将如何展开的先入之见。当我与陌生人坐在一起吃饭的时候,他们悲惨的爱情故事让我失去胃口。

Each week in yoga, I obediently let my limbs go heavy when the teacher says, “Begin to practice the art of letting go.”

在每周的瑜伽课上,当老师说“开始练习放手的艺术”时,我顺从地放松了四肢。

Why, then, is it so difficult for me to let go of this car?

那么,为什么让我放下这辆车就这么难呢?

Part of the answer came a few weeks later, when, on a cloudless September afternoon, I retrieved the Alfa from the shop. I was appalled at the bill and began composing for-sale ads in my head. But as I drove, the breeze warmed my cheeks. The swamp sunflowers popped in yellow clusters that I’d failed to notice from the confines of my sensible sedan. There was still a hint of honeysuckle in the air.

几周之后,这个问题的部分答案开始出现,那是9月一个晴朗无云的下午,我从修理店取回了那辆阿尔法。账单上的数字把我吓了一跳,我开始在脑子里构思售车广告。但当我开车上路时,微风温暖了我的脸颊。湿地里盛开着一簇簇黄色向日葵,但坐在并非什么华丽轿车里的我,却没有注意到。空气中还残留着一丝金银花的气息。

I downshifted, and the car hugged the cloverleaf coming off the highway. The motor hummed; the seat embraced me. Both hands, both feet, my entire body: all engaged. No fiddling with cellphone or radio. Just me and the car and the road.

我降低车速,车子紧沿着立交桥下了高速路。发动机嗡嗡作响;汽车座椅拥抱着我。双手,双脚,我的整个身体:全部投入。没有摆弄手机或收音机。只有我,车子和公路。

I was transported to the fall day in Vermont when my husband taught me to clutch and shift in a different convertible on another serpentine road. I was studying for medical school exams. We had no money, but we splurged on a bed-and-breakfast. That was how he was: Hardship didn’t stop him from plunging into things he loved.

我回到了佛蒙特州的那个秋天,在另一条蜿蜒公路上的另一辆敞篷车里,丈夫教我踩离合器和换挡。当时我正在准备考医学院。我们没有钱,但我们奢侈地住了一家提供早餐的旅馆。他就是这样的人:艰难困苦并不能阻止他投身于自己所爱之事。

In the early days, an unreliable car was our only means of transportation. We eventually added a safer car, but how our daughter beamed when her dad drove her to school in the Spider! How the second-grade boys mobbed the convertible in the pickup lane! No airbags, no roll bar, metal bumpers, an open top — a bad idea to send a child off like that.

早期的时候,我们唯一的交通工具就是一辆不靠谱的车。我们最终又买了一辆更安全的车,但当丈夫开着“蜘蛛”送我们的女儿上学的时候,她笑得多开心啊!那群二年级男孩在接送车道上围观那辆敞篷车时是多么兴奋啊!没有气囊、稳定杆和金属保险杠的敞篷——用这样的车送孩子上学可不是个好主意。

I was the kind of mom who put helmets on our kids when they learned to ice-skate. But my daughter wrote a poem about the light filtering through the trees as she and her dad flew through those moments in time. My daughter and son have grown into people who immerse themselves in the world via all their senses.

我是那种会在孩子学滑冰时给他们戴上头盔的妈妈。但我女儿写了一首诗,描绘了当她和爸爸在那些飞驰时刻看到的穿透树林的光线。我的儿女已经长成了通过自己所有感官沉浸于这个世界的人。

The Alfa is impractical, costly and inconvenient. My hair becomes a bird’s nest when I drive with the top down. When it rains, the fabric roof pings cold drops onto my head. It has left me stranded more than once.

那辆阿尔法并不实用,保养成本高不说,还不好开。当我敞篷开车时,头发就被吹成鸟巢。下雨时,冰冷雨滴会从织物车顶漏到我头上。它还不止一次让我陷入困境。

And I love it.

我还是很爱它。

I was raised to set aside my aspirations to be a writer because the winding path of a creative career seemed lined with risk and destitution, and my immigrant family had had enough of that. Better to cut loose the impractical and hold tight to tangible certainties, my parents advised.

从小我就被教育要放弃当作家的梦想,因为创造性职业的曲折道路似乎满是风险和穷困,而我所在的移民家庭已经受够了这些。父母建议我最好放弃不切实际的东西,牢牢把握看得见的确定性。

My husband, raised in similar circumstances, with similar expectations, somehow flouted conventional notions of what was worth holding onto or jettisoning. He became a scientist instead of a doctor and found not only creative fulfillment but financial success in that less predictable career path. His grad school student loans partly subsidized flying lessons, and he later flew me to Ocracoke, N.C., in a twin-engine Cherokee Warrior, landing on the grass strip beside the shimmering beach, extinguishing the fear of flying I’d developed aboard much safer commercial jets.

我丈夫在类似的环境中长大,背负着类似的期望,但不知何故,他对什么值得抓住、什么应该抛弃的传统观念嗤之以鼻。他成了一名科学家而不是医生,在这条难以预测的职业道路上不仅获得了创造性的满足,还获得了经济上的成功。他用部分研究生贷款去上飞行课程,后来驾驶着双引擎的切诺基勇者飞机,带我飞到北卡罗来纳州的奥克拉科克岛,降落在波光闪烁的海滩旁的草地上,消除了安全得多的商用飞机给我制造的飞行恐惧。

He took safety seriously. We delayed flying back if the weather turned. He didn’t take foolish risks. But he inspired reasonable risks.

他很重视安全问题。如果天气变了,我们就推迟返航。他不会做愚蠢的冒险。但他热衷合理的风险。

He encouraged me to keep writing and working part time as a physician, even if it meant it would take us longer to repay student debt. He advised students to ask meaningful questions, not just those considered most likely to get funded. He left letters for our kids urging them to refrain from bitterness or fear because of his fate. Remain open to the vast beauty around you, he told them. Engage. And when your mom meets someone new, as I hope she will, try to be open to him.

他鼓励我继续写作,兼职做医生,哪怕这意味着我们要花更长的时间来偿还学生贷款。他建议学生们问一些有意义的问题,而不仅仅是那些被认为最有可能获得资助的问题。他给我们的孩子们留下了信件,劝说他们不要因为他的命数而痛苦或恐惧。他告诉他们,要对周围的美好保持开放心态。参与其中。当你们的妈妈遇到新的人时,正如我希望的那样,试着对他敞开心扉。

I did meet someone new a few years ago and had to let go in a host of unexpected ways. My partner has four children, two younger than mine, and two former wives. His children have lost not a parent but something potentially more destabilizing: their faith in the possibility of deep love.

前几年我确实有一个新的交往对象,这出人意料地迫使我放下了过去的许多担忧。我的伴侣有四个孩子,其中两个比我的孩子更小,还有两位前妻。他的孩子失去的不是一个家长,而是一些可能更具破坏性的东西:他们对深爱可能性的信念。

The oldest is cynical about the odds of any relationship lasting. His 9-year-old half brother keeps his parents’ wedding photo on his desk and refers to his mother’s live-in partner as his aunt, even though the relationship has been explained to him. Some children carry into adulthood the fervent wish that their divorced parents will somehow reunite, poisoning their ability to find joy in the actual relationships that surround them.

年纪最大的那个对任何持久关系的可能性都持怀疑态度。他9岁的同父异母的弟弟还把父母结婚照放在自己桌上,并把自己母亲的同居伴侣称为阿姨,哪怕她们已经向他解释了彼此的关系。几个孩子在成年后仍强烈希望离婚的父母能以某种方式破镜重圆,这损害了他们从身边的现实关系中寻找快乐的能力。

My partner recognizes the difficulties. Early in our relationship, he questioned why I would take on the baggage of his past life, baggage he has often wished he could jettison. Not the children, of course, but the painful dynamics of the adults around them.

我的伴侣意识到了这些问题。我们刚交往时,他问我为什么愿意背负他的过去,那是他都一直希望能放下的包袱。当然,包袱不是指孩子,而是指孩子身边那些成年人的挣扎苦痛。

My husband used to say, “If it was easy, it would be done.”

我丈夫以前总说,“如果真有那么容易,那早就能做到了。”

Driving my Alfa Romeo reminds me that difficulty, per se, has never stopped me from pursuing something I think has true worth. Driving, I’m reminded that I, too, can shift gears, face risk, handle inconvenience — and survive tragedy. I re-experience the joy in all my senses: touch, smell, taste, hearing and not exclusively vision, as dictated by our increasingly virtual world.

开着我的阿尔法·罗密欧就是对我的提醒,困难本身从没有阻止我追求我认为真正有价值的东西。在开车的时候,我意识到我也可以换挡、面对危险、处理问题——以及从悲剧中走出来。我重新体验了所有感官的快乐:触摸、嗅闻、品尝、聆听,而不仅仅是被我们愈发虚拟化的世界所支配的视觉。

I am forced to disengage: I can’t return calls, eat lunch and drive to the office all at once. Without anti-lock brakes, I scan the road ahead more mindfully. The car may look zippy, but any soccer mom in a sealed, air-conditioned six-cylinder Land Rover can easily overtake me.

我被迫从中脱离:我没办法在开车去办公室的同时回电话和吃午饭。没有防抱死刹车,我得更仔细地观察前路。这辆车可能看起来很时髦,但任何一位坐在密封良好、装有空调的六缸路虎里的“足球妈妈”(soccer mom),都能轻易超过我。

It’s not the speed but the journey, I tell myself. I continue to write, even if my day job means it takes me half a decade to finish a book. And my partner and I press onward, doing our work individually and together to address the losses we’ve had, to build something together that is strong enough to withstand both nostalgia and anger.

我告诉自己,这不是速度的问题,而是旅程。我继续写作,即使我的正职意味着我得花上五年时间才能完成一本书。我和伴侣继续向前,各自也一起努力面对业已失去的,并共同创造一种坚韧到足以承受怀念和愤怒的感情。

As I consult various people on whether to sell the car, it becomes a litmus test. My in-laws say simplify: “You have so much to manage!” My kids are sad but accepting: They’re moving around the country now with college, internships and jobs, and although they love the car, they are a little afraid to sit in the driver’s seat. To be reminded of too much, and perhaps, to be compared.

当我向不同的人咨询是否应出售这辆车时,它又变成了一块试金石。我的公婆说得很简单:“你要管的事情太多了!”我的孩子们很伤感,但也接受了:大学、实习和工作让他们在全国各地奔波,虽然他们喜欢那辆车,但还是有点害怕坐在驾驶座上。那会让他们想起太多,也许,还要被比较。

My partner, eyes misting, says: “You love that car. And your husband was an extraordinary man.”

我的伴侣眼含着泪水说:“你那么爱那辆车。你丈夫是个非凡的人。”

He says, “I feel so lucky that we’re together, and so sad that you two couldn’t be.”

他说,“我们能在一起我感到很幸运,我也为你们不能在一起而无比难过。”

He says: “Keep fixing it. I’ll drive it with you anytime.”

他说:“继续修吧。我随时都可以和你一起开。”

Maybe the trick is knowing when to let go, and when to hang on.

关键也许在于,知道何时该放手,何时该坚持。

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