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“自私”得有勇



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愿你能深知生活的苦乐,却从不缺乏追寻的勇气。

——张一丹


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 “自私”得有勇


作者:Daniel Smith 

译者:张一丹

校对:邓舒丹

策划:宋一 & 刘蕊


People were braver than he was. He was sure of it. He was kind and smart in his way, but he was not brave, and he never had been.

他深谙人人都比他勇敢。诚然,他自有自的善良与智慧,可他却从未勇敢过。


He and his wife had lunch with her sister and her new husband. The husband’s daughter came to lunch, too. She was the youngest of his three children, and she had recently walked the Appalachian Trail, all of it, from Maine to Georgia. Now she was moving to Wyoming to work on a cattle ranch. Her father didn’t mind this, but her mother, her grandparents, and even some of her friends objected strongly. The girl didn’t seem to care. She said that at first she had cared but then she saw that they were only jealous of her willingness to do what she wanted, free of expectations, and then she didn’t care anymore. She was twenty-one.

有次,他和妻子陪妻子姐姐和新任姐夫一块儿吃午饭,姐夫的女儿也加入了他们的饭局。她虽是姐夫三个孩子中的老幺,却刚徒步走完了从缅因州到佐治亚州的阿帕拉契小径。现在,她打算到怀俄明州的一家牧场工作。姐夫对此并不反对,可她的母亲,她的爷爷奶奶,甚至是她的一些朋友都不支持她。女孩似乎对旁人的议论满不在乎。她说起初难免有点发怵,可后来觉着大家不过是临渊羡鱼,羡慕她能从心所欲,活在当下罢。这样一想,她便也就不再耿耿于怀了。二十一岁的她正值桃李年华。


He thought of himself at twenty-one. Where had he been? He had been in college. Then he had graduated and begun to work, at a drug clinic. In the summer between college and working he went to study Italian at an immersion program in Vermont, but he was lonely and intimidated, and he left after three days. He thought of his wife’s sister’s husband’s daughter’s decision not to care what people thought of her. She had described it as a sort of switch: first she had cared, then she had not cared. The switch was her will. He could not remember ever applying his will to such drastic effect, particularly about other people and their feelings about him. This, he decided, was the essence of her courage and of his cowardice.

于是,他想到了自己的二十一岁。那时的他正身处何处呢?二十一岁的他还在读大学,大学读完后就开始在一家药店上班。在临近毕业的那个暑期,他参加了佛蒙特州的一个意大利语沉浸式课程。可孤僻,怯弱的他刚学三天就开溜了。他想了解姐夫的女儿是如何做到不理会旁人的眼光。对此,女孩只是云淡风轻地说到:起初,她在意;然后,她就释怀了。这一过程就好似电流在正负极之间转换般行云流水,电流开关由女孩把控着。可在他的记忆里,自己从未成功地从负极转换到正极过,尤其是在想到他人及他人是如何看待自己时转换更是困难。他认为这既是他的勇气所在,亦是他的怯弱所在。


That night, while undressing, he tried to explain all this to his wife. She understood him immediately, but she raised a number of objections and mitigating forces.

那晚,他一边脱衣服,一边试探着向妻子倾吐心绪。没说几句,妻子便懂了他为何所困,可妻子的看法却恰好相反。妻子反驳道:


1.) The girl was overstating or misrepresenting her experience. She very likely did care what other people thought of her—especially her mother—and was portraying her transformation as stark only because it was a) more dramatic to speak that way, b) more self-aggrandizing to speak that way, and c) a means of convincing herself of her own courage, without which she would not be able to do what she was doing.

其一,女孩要么在夸大其词,要么在歪曲事实。十有八九,她在意旁人对自己是怎么个看法,尤其是她母亲的。她之所以会浓墨重彩,让人觉得她是个“另类女孩”,是因为这样会更引人注目,显得与众不同,同时也给自己壮壮胆,如果不添油加醋,她可没胆这么做的。


2.) The girl was not known, given the stories her sister told about her, to be especially generous or compassionate, whereas by all reports he always had been, and these qualities—generosity and compassion—entailed their own form of courage: the courage to serve others. (At this he winced.)

 其二,根据她姐对她的描述,可以看出她不是个宽容大度,富有同情心的人。然而,在大家眼中,你一直就是这样的人。做个慷慨大度,富有同情心的人又何尝不需要勇气?那是愿舍身帮助他人的勇气。(这时他双眉紧蹙)


3.) At the time he had grown anxious and homesick and left the language school, his mother had been deathly ill, a detail that ought to soften his judgment of himself. It was important to consider context.

 3.)当你开始焦躁不安,思家心切,随即决定离校时,你母亲正处在病危之中,这一关键因素在自我审视时可不能落下。


He  thanked  her, this woman who loved him and who didn’t judge him for those parts of himself that most troubled and shamed him, but he offered counterarguments to which he believed she would have no effective response.

他谢了谢妻子,感谢爱他的这个女人并未以偏概全,专门就那些令自己苦恼不堪和暗自羞愧的性格缺陷大肆评价。但他并不认同妻子所说的全部内容,他反驳道:


1.) Even if the girl was misrepresenting herself in order to bolster her spirits, this was, as he saw it, further evidence of her courage—courage consisting, as everyone knew, not of action in the absence of objections but action in the face of them.

首先,就算是那女孩心高气傲,美化了自我形象,我觉得这反而更彰显了她的勇气。众所周知,选择直面而非逃避问题得有勇气坚持。


2.) Selfishness was its own form of courage, and in fact was, within reason, exactly the kind of courage that he had in mind.

其次,自私又何尝不是一种勇气。老实说,或许我缺乏的正是这种勇气。


3.) Many people had mothers who were dying and then died. A dying mother does not preclude the study of Italian. There are always excuses.

再者,世上有母亲正处在生死线之间的人也不止于我。母亲病重并不妨碍我学意大利语,可我总有借口搪塞。


They lay in bed. They could hear two men on the sidewalk talking and laughing. They kissed for a while. It seemed that they were going to make love but they didn’t, and as his wife slept he thought about the girl. What would she do on the ranch in Wyoming? Would she drive steer? Would she cook and clean? He had meant to ask her but then the conversation had turned. Was she frightened at all? Did she have reservations? What resources of mind or spirit did she think she possessed to move to a place two thousand miles from her family, a place in which she knew nobody and the terrain and climate were utterly different from those which she had always known? If she grew lonely, what comforts would she seek out? And did she love herself? Under the great sweeping Western sky, among the cattle and the mountains bathed in red light, was it really herself whom she loved most of all?

路旁传来两个男人的说笑声,夫妻俩躺在床上,亲吻着,缠绵着,没有做爱。妻子睡在一旁,他在想那个女孩。他在想她去怀俄明州的牧场干什么呢?是去开车还是做饭,打扫卫生?他当时本想问问这个女孩的,可话题一转,他也就没问了。难道她一点儿也不害怕吗?她有过迟疑吗?是什么样的念头或精神在召唤她,让她义无反顾地远去到离家两千英里开外的陌生之地?在那里她可举目无亲啊,当地的地形,气候也与她所熟悉的截然不同。倘若孤独感渐生,她用什么来聊以自慰呢?她爱自己吗?难道畅游在广袤无垠的西域苍穹之下,置身于沉浸在高原艳阳天下的牛群与连绵山脉之间的她,真的是自己最爱的模样吗?



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程希夷游记:


也许人只有在被自然包围时,才能感受到一种难言的自由。在高山和稀薄的空气中,除了干燥的寒冷,寒冷的干燥,还有一种魔法。


大西北之行来源于一次心血来潮。


包车行过干旱少雨的青海,在翡翠湖的盐滩留下足迹,看着大漠公路尽头的地平线。白天闷热的旅馆,竟然没有空调。短暂的夜晚,也没有蚊子骚扰。大惊小怪吗,南方人?又到甘肃,不变的是漫长的公路和两边无尽的山,竟然有绿色,还有连天的油菜花,群山被人为地切割了,像是被揉皱又拉升的田字格。如果山有肢体的话,如果山有五官的话,如果山有喉舌的话,它对自己身上的装饰又会作何感想呢?那长长的、泪线一般从山顶延伸到山脚的折线。


同行包车的旅伴是一帮医学生。在人烟稀少的旅游小镇上,讨论考研和选导师,真是一种奇妙的经历。人就是有一种天赋,无论处于何时何地,都无法真正逃离自己的生活。那生活之中,包含了过去以及对未来的愿景。而我开始怀疑,我是否有真正逃离的勇气。


终于到了回家的时间。


昨晚回家的晚上很安静,来自家乡的出租车有自己鲜明的旗帜,一切都是默默的,连颜色都褪去了。我又回到了那被雨淋湿的地方,空气中似乎能挤出水。车轮在不平的路面上发出不平的声音。我要是把它形容成马蹄声,那真是俗气至极。那就不要马蹄声吧。那是在鲸腹里漫游。


夜晚的安静结实得仿佛有自己的形体。雨是流动的水,黑暗是一头唱着人们不能理解的歌谣的鲸。我想象自己在一艘潜水艇里移动,像游戏inside的主人公一样,出租车连同车灯的尺丈光芒被黑暗衔进嘴里。我听见车轱辘的声音,它如何撞开雨的汪洋,掀起阵阵波纹。


今早凌晨的时候,我回家了。过去的六天像一场梦,我突然懂得了作为一粒沙子的含义,哪有有风的地方,哪里就会有我的踪影。







  • 本文原载于 The New Yorker

  • 原文链接:https://www.newyorker.com/books/flash-fiction/courage



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