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长大之后,我也变成了你们

长大之后,我也变成了你们

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

汪曾祺在《哀哀父母,生我劬劳》一文中写道:“中国散文,包括写父母的悼念性文章,自四十年代至七十年代有一个断裂,其特点是作假……不断地搞运动,使人心变了,变得粗硬寡情了。不知是谁发明了一种东西,叫做‘划清界限’,是亲子之情变得淡薄了,有时直如路人。更有甚者,变成仇敌,失去人性。”要求“划清界限”而内心又无法和不愿“划清界限”,也许就是阻挡我们处理好原生家庭关系的一大阻碍。正如龙应台在《天长地久》里所说的:“出国时,父母到松山机场送我。那时候出国留学就像永别。我进海关之前,有没有回头看美君一眼?一定没有。当时我的心目中是没有父母的。父母就是理所当然地在那,就像家里的家具一样。”年少的时候,我们拼命想摆脱自己身上或多或少父母的影子,渴望逃离家庭,也许因为对于家庭的记忆让人觉得压抑。长大之后发现我们真不愧是他们的孩子。终于,我们渐行渐远,却又慢慢靠近。亲情,还是有滋味可品的。我们慢慢走向父母的过程,就像拉丁语“ave atque vale“所言,是致意,也是告别。

——朱小钊

👇

长大之后,我也变成了你们

作者:James Wood

译者:王雅婧

校对:朱小钊

点评&推荐阅读:罗玉池

策划:朱小钊

Becoming Them
成为他们
Our parents, our selves.
于父母,于我们自己
Nietzsche says somewhere that the industrious, virtuous English ruined Sundays. I knew this at the age of twelve—that is, the Sunday part and the ruination part. When I was growing up, Sunday morning was all industry and virtue, a religious bustle: the dejected selection of formal clothes (tie, jacket, gray trousers); a quick pre-ecclesiastical breakfast; lace-up shoes handed to my father, master of the polishing arts (that oily Kiwi cake, glistening in its tin like food). Then the eternal boredom of church, with its ponderously enthusiastic adults. And, after that, Sunday lunch, as regimented as the Hapsburg Sunday lunches of brisket of beef and cherry dumplings that the Trotta family eats week after week in “The Radetzky March.” A joint of beef, or of lamb, or of pork, with gravy, roast potatoes, and a selection of fatally weakened vegetables (softened cauliflower, tattered Brussels sprouts, pale parsnips, all boiled punitively, as if to get the contagion out of them). It was the nineteen-seventies, in a small town in the North of England, but it could almost have been the eighteen-seventies. The only unusual element in this establishment was that my father cooked lunch. He cooked everything for our family, and always had; my mother was never interested in the kitchen, and gladly conceded that territory.
尼采曾说过,正是英国人数十年如一日的勤恳以及对美德的不懈追求“毁”了周日的美好时光。对此,十二岁的我就深以为然。在我成长的过程中,周日的早晨往往就是厉行勤劳,追求美德的早晨,要为参加礼拜而忙前忙后:先是没精打采地挑选正装(领带啊夹克衫啊灰色裤子之类的),在礼拜开始前匆忙吃完早餐,把系好的鞋子递给父亲,他抛光打蜡的手艺可是相当了得(那罐头里油光晶亮的猕猴桃蛋糕十分逼真,正是出自父亲之手)。在教堂里的每分每秒都十分煎熬,而大人们却十分投入,一副深沉严肃的模样。午餐像《拉德茨基进行曲》(the Radetzky March)里特洛塔一家每周吃的哈布斯堡周日午餐一般固定,顿顿都是牛胸肉和樱桃饺子。教会的午餐包括炖牛肉(有时候是羊肉或猪肉)、烤土豆和一些蔫巴巴的让人难以下咽的蔬菜(有嫩花菜、抱子甘蓝碎、清口欧防风等,全都煮得稀烂,好像为了防止传染病似的)。这般景象在70年代英格兰北部的小镇上很是常见,80年代也变化不大,不过后来我们就改在家里吃父亲做的午饭。厨房一直以来都是父亲的地盘,他几乎包揽了我们家所有烧菜烧饭的活。母亲对烹饪从来就不感兴趣,自然是愉快地接受了这样的分工。
After lunch, tired and entitled—but sweetly, not triumphantly—my father sat in the sitting room and listened to classical music on the record player. He fell asleep gradually, not really intending to succumb. He wanted to be awake for one of his favorite composers, a narrow but rich cycle of Beethoven (piano sonatas and string quartets), Haydn (string quartets), and Schubert (lieder, especially “Die Winterreise”). These three masters were almost as unvarying as the rotation of Sunday beef, lamb, and pork. My brother and sister and I were all musical children, so we would be appealed to, as we crept toward the door. “Don’t go quite yet—you’ll miss the next one, ‘Der Lindenbaum,’ which Fischer-Dieskau does very well. He has the advantage over Peter Schreier.” My father’s musical discussion involved grading performances; though an intelligent auditor, he didn’t play a musical instrument. So my memory of those Sunday afternoons is as much a memory of names as of music: “No one has really approached the young Barenboim, in those late sonatas, except Kempff. But of course Kempff is a completely different pianist. Solomon, whom I heard playing the last two sonatas in London, when I was still at school, was tremendously fast and powerful.” Richter, Kempff, Schnabel, Barenboim, Brendel, Ogdon, Pollini, Gilels, Arrau, Michelangeli, Fischer-Dieskau, Schreier, Schwarzkopf, Sutherland, Lott, Vickers, Pears—all the precious names of childhood.
午饭后,略带疲惫的父亲会在客厅休息,享受他的独属时光。听着录音机里的古典音乐,父亲面露愉悦,却没有一丝张扬。慢慢地,他睡着了,不过只是小憩而已,等到录音机放到他喜欢的作品时,父亲便会醒来全神贯注地聆听。父亲喜欢的作曲家不外乎贝多芬(钢琴奏鸣曲和弦乐四重奏)、海顿(弦乐四重奏)和舒伯特(抒情曲,尤其是《冬之旅》),但光是这三位大师已足以呈现一场听觉盛宴。就像周日固定不变的午餐一样,父亲总是不厌其烦地循环着他们的作品。我和哥哥妹妹打小就喜欢音乐,当我们蹑手蹑脚地走到客厅门口时,总会被古典音乐吸引。“别急着走啊,听听下一首。下一首是菲舍尔-狄斯考唱的《菩提树》,他唱得太好了,比彼得•施莱尔厉害。”父亲可以算是位出色的听众,与我们讨论音乐时还会给出自己的评价,但实际上他并不会演奏乐器。所以那些在周日下午与父亲一起听音乐的记忆,也仅剩下一些乐曲的名字罢了:“在后期的奏鸣曲中,除了肯普夫,还没有人的水平能达到年轻时的巴伦博伊姆。不过肯普夫的确是位风格独特的钢琴家。至于所罗门,我还在上学的时候就在伦敦听过他演奏的最后两首奏鸣曲,他演奏得娴熟流畅、铿锵有力。”里赫特、肯普夫、施纳贝尔、巴伦博伊姆、布伦德尔、奥格登、波利尼、吉列尔斯、阿劳、米开朗杰利、菲舍尔-狄斯考、施莱尔、施瓦茨科普芙、萨瑟兰、洛特、维克斯、皮尔斯——这些名字,都是我童年时期珍贵的记忆。
I thought of those Sundays when Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau died, some months ago. Some of the obituaries rightly suggested that he became a brand name for a kind of smooth, dependable quality. That is how he functioned in our household (which isn’t to deny his beauty as a singer, or the validity of my father’s admiration of him). I grew a bit suspicious of that rich emollience of tone, that tempered, bourgeois liquidity. Just as intolerantly, I grew restless with the way my father would look up from his armchair and calmly utter the double-barrelled guarantee: “Fischer-Dieskau, of course. . . . Marvellous.” The name had the shape and solidity of some dependable manufacturer or department store, a firm that would never go bust. Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Harvey Nichols, Austin Reed, Royal Enfield. My father had great faith in reliable British companies, often against the evidence, it should be said. It was a joke in our family. Once, at dinner, a wall plug and socket exploded, with a mild, odorous flash. Imperturbable, my dad went to the wall and examined the plug, like the scientist he was. “M.K. and Crabtree,” he said, intoning the names of the manufacturers. “Totally dependable.” We all laughed at this stolid evenness of response, while perhaps gratefully aware that this was the kind of man you would want around in an actual crisis. Fischer-Dieskau, like M.K. and Crabtree, was totally dependable, though inconveniently German.
几个月前,德国男中音歌唱家菲舍尔-狄斯考与世长辞。他的离世让我又想起了与父亲共度的周日时光。一些讣闻称菲舍尔-狄斯考的作品就是流畅、有保障的代名词。在我家,他的地位也是如此(这并非否定他的惊艳歌喉抑或是父亲对他的崇拜)。我甚至开始有点质疑他作品中柔美治愈的曲调以及那种舒缓但庸常的流畅性。我同样无法理解父亲对他的痴迷。“菲舍尔-狄斯考,不用说,好肯定好!”每当坐在摇椅上的父亲抬起头,平静地表达莫名的赞美时,这种态度就会让我有些不耐烦。迪特里希·菲舍尔-狄斯考这个名字在父亲眼中似乎具体有型,像阿斯顿·马丁、劳斯莱斯、夏菲尼高、奥斯汀·里德和恩菲尔德这些制造商和百货公司一样,是一家值得信赖、永不破产的公司。父亲对一些看似可靠的英国公司满怀信心,纵使这些公司并没有这般靠谱。在我们家有一段趣事,一次吃晚饭的时候,一个插座爆炸了,伴着一道轻微的、带气味的亮光。父亲冷静地走到墙边,像个科学家一样仔细检查了插座,一边检查一边叨叨制造商的名字:“M.K.和 Crabtree的品质都是可以保证的。”我们都嘲笑他反应冷淡,波澜不惊,又暗自感叹真正遇到危机的时候,希望能有像父亲一样冷静的人在身边。父亲觉得菲舍尔-狄斯考和 M.K.、Crabtree 一样可靠,尽管前者是个不折不扣的德国人。
Boredom, headachey Sunday boredom: I blamed Christianity. On those English Sundays, the knowledge that all the shops were religiously shut (even the little back-alley record shop where my best friend and I fingered the new LPs) simmered like a sullen summer heat and made me lethargic. There was nowhere to go, nothing to do. My brother was somehow more adept than I at slipping away to sin; he made it to his bedroom, and I would hear Robert Plant whining up there, the euphoric, demonic, eunuch antidote to Fischer-Dieskau’s settled baritone. (“I should have quit you, long time ago.”) My sister was too young to count as audience. My mother steered clear. So I would sit with my father, and sometimes when he fell asleep I would fall asleep, too, in companionable torpor.
至于为何所有的礼拜天都如此无聊透顶,让人头痛,我认为是基督教的问题。在那些一成不变的英式周日里,一想到所有商店都因为做礼拜而关门闭户(甚至是让我和朋友能找到最新黑胶唱片的那家街巷小店也是如此),我就像在阴郁潮湿的夏日热浪中蒸腾一般懒散昏沉。无处可去,又无事可做。哥哥比我要“叛逆”些,在周日也不愿老老实实休息,在卧室放起了音乐。我在楼下也能听到罗伯特·普兰特尖锐的高音,他的声线热烈高亢,又有邪魅、风骚的味道,将我从菲舍尔-狄斯考无休无止的男中音中解脱出来(我早就该不听他的音乐了)。当时妹妹还小,算不上听众,母亲更是避之不及。所以常常是我和父亲坐在一起听音乐,有时他睡着了之后,我也懒洋洋地闭上了眼睛。
For ages, I associated those three composers with that Sunday world. Haydn was killed for me. Even now, I can’t listen to him, despite the adulatory testimony of several musicians and composers I know. For quite a long time, I thought of Schubert only as the composer of snowy, trudging lieder. I refused to hear the limpid beauty of the songs, or the dark anguish; I knew nothing about the piano sonatas, now among my favorite pieces. Most terribly, I thought of Beethoven as the calm confectioner of the “Moonlight” Sonata; I heard the beauty, but not much more. It was music to go to sleep to. An idiotic assessment, of course. All the tension and dissonance, the jumpy rhythms, the fantastic experimental fugues and variations, the chromatic storms, the blessed plateaus (the sunlit achievement, once you have got through the storms, as at the end of Opus 109 and Opus 111)—in short, all the fierce complex modernity of Beethoven was lost to me.
多年来,这三位作曲家的音乐都伴随着我的周日时光。我欣赏不了海顿。尽管认识的几位音乐家和作曲家都对他不吝赞美,但即便在今天,我也依旧无法欣赏。在很长一段时间里,我都以为舒伯特只写舒缓柔和的艺术歌曲(lieder)。我不愿听清澈美丽的歌声,也不喜欢阴郁怆痛的曲调,虽然现在我很喜欢钢琴奏鸣曲,但当时我对这一类型的音乐却是一无所知。更糟糕的是,我对贝多芬的认识仅仅停留在他是一位沉稳大气、给《月光奏鸣曲》锦上添花的大师。我听到了他曲中的美好,但也仅局限于此。在我看来,这是可以伴随入睡的音乐,我知道这个评价过于肤浅。贝多芬作品中所体现的那些冲突对立、跳跃的节奏,那些极具实验性但十分美妙的赋格曲和变奏曲,在大量急促的半音阶之后趋于平静的感觉(像Op.109和Op.111末尾传递的感觉一样,经历风雨洗礼之后享受登顶高原、阳光挥洒于身的成就)——总而言之,这些激烈复杂的现代性我都没有体会到。
And then Beethoven came back, as probably my father knew he would, in my early twenties, at a time of solitude and anxiety—came roaring back with the difficult romanticism that my incuriosity had repressed in childhood. I can’t now imagine life without Beethoven, can’t imagine not listening to and thinking about Beethoven (being spoken to by him, and speaking with him). And, like my father, I have quite a few recordings of the piano sonatas, especially the last three, and I listen to the young Barenboim playing, and think to myself, as my father did, Not quite as lucid as Kempff, but much better than Gould, who’s unreliable on Beethoven, and perhaps more interesting than Brendel, and, yes, I think I just heard him make a little mistake, which Pollini certainly never does. . . .
但后来,我又开始听贝多芬了,可能父亲也料到了这一点。在二十出头的那段日子里,我倍感孤独、内心充满焦虑。童年时期的我由于缺乏兴趣,一直无法理解贝多芬的浪漫主义,而如今我已经被这种浪漫主义所征服,我无法想象没有贝多芬的生活,无法想象不能欣赏贝多芬的音乐,并与之神交会是怎样的体验。和父亲一样,我有不少钢琴奏鸣曲的录音带,尤其是贝多芬最后三首奏鸣曲。我在听巴伦波伊姆早期的作品时,也像父亲当年一样会暗自思考评论:他的作品没有肯普夫那样易懂,但比顾尔德好多了,和贝多芬也完全不同。他也比布伦德尔有趣多了,嗯,是了,我想我刚刚听到他犯了一个小错误,波里尼可不会犯这种低级错误……
Sometimes I catch myself and think, self-consciously, You are now listening to a Beethoven string quartet, just as your father did. And, at that moment, I feel a mixture of satisfaction and rebellion. Rebellion, for all the obvious reasons. Satisfaction, because it is natural to resemble one’s parents, and there is a resigned pleasure to be had from the realization. I like that my voice is exactly the same pitch as my father’s, and can be mistaken for it. But then I hear myself speaking to my children just as he spoke to me, in exactly the same tone and with the same fatherly melody, and I am dismayed by the plagiarism of inheritance. How unoriginal can one be? I sneeze the way he does, with a slightly theatrical whooshing sound. I say “Yes, yes” just as he does, calmly. The other day, I saw that I have the same calves, with the shiny, unlit pallor I found ugly when I was a boy, and with those oddly hairless patches at the back (blame for which my father unscientifically placed on trouser cloth rubbing against the skin). Sometimes, when I am sitting doing nothing, I have the eerie sense that my mouth and eyes are set just like his. Like him, I am irritatingly phlegmatic at times of crisis. There must be a few differences: I won’t decide to become a priest in my fifties, as he did. I’m not religious, and don’t go to church, as he does, so my Sundays are much less dull than those of my childhood (and the shops are all open now, a liberty that brings its own universal boredom). I’m no scientist (he was a zoologist). I am less decent, less ascetic, far more materialistic (“pagan” would be my self-reassuring euphemism). And I’m sure he’s never Googled himself.
有时我不禁会想,我现在正在听贝多芬的弦乐四重奏,就像父亲那样。那一刻,我感觉到一种既满足又叛逆的复杂情绪。叛逆感不言自明。之所以感觉到满足,是因为与父母相像多么自然,虽然有些无可奈何,但还是让我感受到了一丝愉悦。我和父亲说话音调相似,还有人会把我俩弄混,对此我欣然接受。但后来当我发现我与孩子们说话的口吻就像当初他和我说话一般,还是那如出一辙慈父般的腔调,我顿感低落,觉得自己彻彻底底就是一个遗传的复制品。一个人和父母能有多像?我和父亲打喷嚏的方式都一样,总会带着一丝夸张的嗖嗖声。我说“是的,没错”时也和父亲一样,语气平静。有一天,我看到了自己的小腿时也想到了父亲。小时候,我看到他惨白无光的小腿总觉得丑陋至极,有些地方还光秃秃的没有毛(我觉得应该是父亲隔着外裤肆意挠抓皮肤导致的)。有时即便我什么都不做,一种奇怪的感觉也会油然而生——我的嘴巴和眼睛怎么和父亲一模一样。在紧要关头,我也会表现出令人抓狂的冷静,这点自然也是随了父亲。但我和他多少还是有些不同:我不会在50多岁的时候决定做一名牧师,我不信教,不去礼拜,所以我的周日也没有童年时那么沉闷(现在商店不会关门了,这种自由无非是另一种层面的无聊)。我不是科学家(父亲是动物学家),没有那么正派,不会严于律己,也更物质主义(“异教徒”是我自我安慰的托词)。我也相信他从来没有在谷歌上搜索过自己。
This summer, I happened to reread a beautiful piece of writing by Lydia Davis, called “How Shall I Mourn Them?” It is barely two and a half pages long, and is just a list of questions:
今年夏天,我碰巧重读了莉迪亚·戴维斯的作品《我该如何纪念他们?》。内容不多,只有两三页纸,但优美动人,作品中提出了一连串问题:
Shall I keep a tidy house, like L.?
我要像L一样保持房间整洁吗?
Shall I develop an unsanitary habit, like K.?
还是像K一样不注意个人卫生吗?
Shall I sway from side to side a little as I walk, like C.?
我要像C一样走路时一摇一摆吗?
Shall I write letters to the editor, like R.?
我要像R一样给编辑写信吗?
Shall I retire to my room often during the day, like R.?
像R一样,一天中时不时回到房里休息?
Shall I live alone in a large house, like B.?
我要像B一样独居在大房子里吗?
Shall I treat my husband coldly, like K.?
要像K那样冷漠地对待我的丈夫吗?
Shall I give piano lessons, like M.?
我要像M一样教钢琴吗?
Shall I leave the butter out all day to soften, like C.?
我要像C一样,就把黄油搁在那等它软化吗?
When I first read this story (or whatever you want to call it), a few years ago, I understood it to be about mourning departed parents, partly because a certain amount of Davis’s recent work has appeared to touch obliquely on the death of her parents. I think that the initials could belong to the author’s friends—seen, over the years, falling into the habits of grief. It is a gentle comedy of Davis’s that those habits of grief are so ordinary (piano lessons, leaving out the butter) that they amount to the habits of life, and that therefore the answer to the title’s question must be: “I can’t choose how to mourn them, as your verb, ‘shall,’ suggests. I can mourn them only haplessly, accidentally, by surviving them. So I shall mourn them just by living.” But I spoke recently to a friend about this story, and she thought that I had missed something. “Isn’t it also about becoming one’s parents, about taking on their very habits and tics after they disappear? So it’s also about preserving those habits once they’ve disappeared, whether you want to or not.” My friend told me that before her mother died she had had very little interest in gardening (one of her mother’s passions); after her mother’s death, she began to garden, and it now brings her real happiness.
当我几年前第一次读到这篇故事时(故事也好,诗也罢,随你怎么称呼),我明白这是在悼念她已逝的父母,因为戴维斯近期的一些作品似乎都隐晦地提及了她父母的死亡。故事里的首字母可能是她朋友们名字的缩写。这么多年来,戴维斯在他们身上渐渐看到了他们父母的影子。这种表达悲伤的方式在戴维斯笔下带有一抹轻喜剧的色彩,父母的生活习惯是如此的寻常,就这样不声不响地融入了子女的生活里(教钢琴课,把黄油搁着待它自动融化)。因此,标题的答案一定是:“就像这段故事里的一连串问号一样,我们不能选择如何纪念他们,我们只能不幸又偶然地活出他们的样子来,所以我要通过活着来纪念他们。”但我最近和一个朋友谈起了这个故事,她认为我忽略了一些事情:“这个故事难道不是在讲述我们会变为父母的样子,继承他们的习惯,并且在生活中自然地表现出来吗?也就是说,在父母离世后,不论你是否愿意,都会保留他们的习惯。”她还说,在她母亲还在世的时候,她对园艺没什么兴趣(园艺是她母亲的一大爱好),但在母亲去世后,她也开始打理花园,而且现在园艺为她带来了真正的快乐。
If you are mourning your parents by becoming them, then presumably you can mourn them before they are dead: certainly, I have spent my thirties and forties journeying through a long realization that I am decisively my parents’ child, that I am destined to share many of their gestures and habits, and that this slow process of becoming them, or becoming more like them, is, like the Roman ave atque vale, both an address and a farewell.
如果想通过活出父母的样子来纪念他们,那么你现在就应该有所行动。当然,在我三四十岁这段时光里,我花了很长时间才接受我无论如何都是父母生的这一事实,我必然会表现出和他们相似的体态,拥有相同的习惯。这段缓慢前行的人生旅程,正是我向他们迈进的过程,或者说我正慢慢变得越来越像他们,就像拉丁语“ave atque vale”说的那样,是致意,也是告别。

译注:ave atque vale, hail and farewell : I salute you, and goodbye —used especially in a eulogy to a hero.

My parents are still alive, in their mid-eighties now. But in the past two years my wife has watched both her parents die—her father, quickly, of esophageal cancer, and her mother, more slowly, from the effects of dementia. She bore one kind of grief for her father; and she bore a slightly different grief for her mother, for an absence that was the anticipation of loss, followed finally by the completion of that loss—grief in stages, terraced grief. I say to her, “I haven’t yet had to go through any of what you’ve gone through.” And she replies, “But you will, you know that, and it won’t be so long.”
我的父母还健在,不过也已到了耄耋之年。在过去的两年里,我妻子的父母相继离世,她的父亲死于食道癌,没有遭受太多痛苦,但她的母亲则饱受老年痴呆症的折磨。父母的疾病给她带来的悲伤有些许不同,从知道母亲终将离去到真正离世,她的悲伤与日俱增。我对妻子说:“我还没有经历过你所经历的一切。”她回答道:“你终究会经历的,这一天不会太远。”
My parents know much better than I do that it won’t be so long; that their life together is precarious, and balances on the little plinth of their fading health. There is nothing unique in this prospect: it’s just their age, and mine. Twice this year, my father has been hospitalized. When he disappears like that, my mother struggles to survive, because she has macular degeneration and can’t see. The second time, I raced over to damp Scotland, to find her almost confined to the dining room, where there is a strong (and pungently ugly) electric fire, and living essentially on cereal; the carpet under the dining table was littered with oats, like the floor of a hamster’s cage. When my father returned home, he had a cane for the first time in his robust life, and seemed much weaker. My brother took him around the supermarket in a wheelchair.
我的父母比我更清楚自己已时日无多,他们的生活充满变数,只能凭借日益衰微的身体勉强维持着当前的生活。这幅光景没什么特别之处,只是他们已是耄耋之年,我亦不再年轻而已。今年父亲两次住院,他不在家中的时候,母亲只能一人苦苦支撑,她患有黄斑变性,看不见东西。当父亲第二次住院的时候,我跑到苏格兰,却发现母亲几乎只在客厅内走动。苏格兰很潮湿,客厅里电炉烧得正旺(还有刺鼻异味),那些天母亲主要吃谷物充饥,餐桌下的地毯上散落着燕麦,像散落着木屑的仓鼠笼子。父亲回家时拄着拐,这对于向来健康的父亲来说还是头一回,他看上去虚弱多了,后来是哥哥推着轮椅陪他逛超市。
I spent a week at my parents’ home, helping out, and it took a couple of days for me to register that something was missing. It nagged at me, faintly, and then more strongly, and finally I realized that there was no music in the house. In fact, it occurred to me, there had been no music during several previous visits I’d made. I asked my father why he was no longer listening to music, and was shocked to discover that his CD player had been broken for more than a year, and that he had put off replacing it because a new one seemed expensive. He was much less perturbed than I was by this state of affairs. I could hardly imagine my parents’ life without thinking of him sitting in an armchair, while Haydn or Beethoven or Schubert played. But, of course, this idea of him is an old memory of mine, and thus a picture of a younger man’s habits—he is the middle-aged father of my childhood, not the rather different old man whom I don’t see often enough because I live three thousand miles away, a man who doesn’t care too much whether he listens to music or not. So, even as I become him, he becomes someone else.
我在父母家忙前忙后了一个星期,几天以来,我总觉得家里少了些什么,这种感觉一直困扰着我,并且愈发强烈,直到我意识到家里少了音乐。不仅如此,我突然发现,前几次回家时也都没有听到音乐。我问父亲为什么不再听音乐了,还惊讶地发现他的CD机已经坏了一年多了,因为新的太昂贵,他迟迟没有更换。可父亲比我淡定多了。我很难想象不坐在摇椅上听海顿,或是贝多芬、舒伯特,他的生活会是什么样子。话虽如此,我的想法也只是来源于我旧时的记忆和他年轻时的一些习惯。我对他的印象还停留在童年时的那个中年父亲,而不是住在三千英里外不常见面的老人,一位不在乎自己听不听音乐的老人。这样看来,即便我变成了父亲,父亲却已然变成了另一个人。
Most likely, he is simply too busy looking after my mother to have time to relax. He is the cook, the driver, the shopper, the banker, the person who uses the computer, who gets wood or coal for the fire, who mends things when they break, who puts the cat out and who locks up at night. Perhaps he is too busy being anxious about my mother, being slightly afraid for both of them, to sit as he used to, triumphant and calm and secure.
我猜父亲可能是因为忙着照顾母亲,所以才没时间放松。他既是厨师,也是司机,既是采购员,也是银行家。他不仅会使用电脑,用木材或煤炭生火也没有问题。东西坏了他能修好,遛猫也值得信赖。也许,就是因为太忙了,忙着操心母亲,偶尔还得为他俩的生活担心,所以没能像过去那样可以得意洋洋、平静安稳地坐着。
Or perhaps this is just my fear projected onto him. When I was a teen-ager, I used to think that Philip Larkin’s line about how life is first boredom, then fear, was right about boredom (those Sundays) and wrong about fear. What’s so fearful about life? Now, at forty-seven, I think it should be the other way around: life is first fear, then boredom (as perhaps the fearful Larkin of “Aubade” knew). Fear for oneself, fear for those one loves. I sleep very poorly these days; I lie awake, full of apprehensions. All kinds of them, starting with the small stuff, and rising. How absurd that I should be paid to write book reviews! How long is that likely to last? And what’s the point of the bloody things? Why on earth would the money not run out? Will I be alive in five years? Isn’t some kind of mortal disease likely? How will I cope with death and loss—with the death of my parents, or, worse, and unimaginably, of my wife, or children? How appalling to lose one’s mind, as my mother-in-law did! Or to lose all mobility, but not one’s mind, and become a prisoner, like the late Tony Judt. If I faced such a diagnosis, would I have the courage to kill myself? Does my father have pancreatic cancer? And on and on.
又或者,这只是我的恐惧在父亲身上的映射。菲利普·拉金曾说,人生先是无聊,再是恐惧。十几岁的时候,我认为只有前半句是对的。生活有什么可怕的?现在,我也已经47岁了,对生活有了不同的解读:生活先是恐惧,然后是无聊(也许就像《晨曲》一诗中拉金惧怕的那样)。既为自己恐惧,也为所爱的人恐惧。这几天我失眠了,经常是躺在床上,满怀各种忧虑。先是想一些琐碎小事,随后越来越让我不寒而栗。我竟然靠写书评赚钱,太荒唐了!这样到底还得持续多久?这些该死的事情究竟有什么意义?为什么钱还没有花光?五年后我还会活着吗?我会不会患上什么致命的疾病?我将如何应对死亡和失去——父母的逝去,或是更糟糕,面对妻子或孩子的离世(这我完全不敢想象)?如果像我岳母那样活着该有多么可怕啊!就算心智健全,要是像已故的托尼·朱特丧失所有的行动能力,那和禁锢的囚犯有何区别?如果我确诊患有类似的疾病,我有勇气自杀吗?我的父亲有胰腺癌吗?如此种种,在我脑海中萦绕,挥之不去。

译注:《晨曲》(Aubade)是诗人菲利普·拉金晚年的一首关于死亡的名诗。全诗https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48422/aubade-56d229a6e2f07

托尼·朱特,世界上著名的欧洲问题和欧洲思想研究专家。2008年被诊断出肌肉萎缩性侧索硬化症,2009年颈部以下瘫痪,但他仍坚持以口述的方式写作。2010年,他在纽约曼哈顿的家中去世。

There is nothing very particular about these anxieties. They’re banal, even a little comic, as the mother in Per Petterson’s novel “I Curse the River of Time” understands when some bad medical news is delivered. She had lain awake, night after night, worried about dying of lung cancer: “And then I get cancer of the stomach. What a waste of time!” It’s just the river of time; and a waste of time. But there it is. And sometimes I murmur to myself, repetitively, partly to calm myself down, “How shall I mourn them?” How indeed? For it sounds like the title of a beautiful song, a German lament, something my father might have listened to on a Sunday afternoon, when he still did.
我的焦虑没有什么特别,无非是杞人忧天,甚至有点可笑,就像佩尔·帕特森的小说《我诅咒时间之河》中的母亲听到糟糕的医讯一样。她连续几天彻夜未眠,担心自己会死于肺癌:“后来我得了胃癌,真是浪费时间!”这只是时间之河的自然流逝而已,担心过头就会浪费时间。但是事实就是如此。有时我会不停喃喃自语,“我该如何纪念他们呢?”一定程度是为了让自己能平静下来。“究竟该怎么做?”这句话听起来像是一首德国挽歌的名字,也可能是父亲在周日午后会听的一首歌,如果他还听音乐的话。
原文链接:https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/01/21/becoming-them

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点评

“当你向深渊望得太久时,深渊也会回望你”,读完这篇文章,脑子里跳出的第一句话竟是这个。这似乎与作者想传达的意图相反,在他看来,接纳和成为父母,或许是纪念他们最好的方式之一。与父母的纠葛大概是我们一生都要去面对的问题,成为或是拒绝成为他们,像是一场旷日持久的搏斗。这个战场上,对手有他们,也有我们自己。

作者说,我们或许会不知不觉成为了他们,这的确是温情脉脉的感慨,但于我来说,听着更像是一个魔咒。想起母亲与我曾经讨论婚姻问题,她成长在一个父亲强势家庭,年轻时最大的愿望是不会嫁给同样专制的男人,千挑万选却似乎重蹈了自己母亲的覆辙,对当下的生活时而不满,但知足常乐总是最有效的自我说服。又想起父亲说自己在少年时代不认同父辈的官场生活,如今却苦口婆心劝我从政。习惯或是记忆,像是一锅温水,人不知不觉,束手就擒。

我时常紧张自己,是否努力挣脱,最终却适得其反,作者的话似乎更添了几分宿命论的凉意,挣脱是无谓的。当然,就像文章所叙说的,父母的遗产定不全是坏处,只是大概我还处在一个尚想重起炉灶的年龄与心境,还体会不到这种宿命的暖意。毕竟,真正的理解,来自于真正的经历,也或许,到了某一天,我也会坦然地成为他们。

2019年8月15日

罗玉池

参考阅读:

《原生家庭》:原生家庭是一个近年来很热门的话题,虽然,这本书更多的是从原生家庭的一些负面影响进行讨论,但或许仍能够从心理学上提供一些帮助我们认识父母与自身关系的知识。

https://book.douban.com/subject/30199434/

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