未分类

就算洗盘子,也要靠学习改变命运

‘I got the usual looks from people fresh out of bars or parties, either because of the stench of a hard night’s work on my clothes or because I was muttering to myself while feverishly flipping flashcards.’

“刚出酒吧或参加完派对的人朝我递来惯常的目光,要么是因为辛苦工作一整晚后,我的衣服上发着恶臭,要么是我一边疯狂翻动学习卡片,一边低声自言自语。”

—Mark Isai Garcia

——马克·伊塞·加西亚(Mark Isai Garcia)

“No more broken plates, you understand?”

“不能再打破盘子了,懂吗?”

I could make little sense of the broken English that spat from his mouth but his scrunched-up face spoke a universal language. It was a Friday night in Little Tokyo, and while families were eating five-star meals in the front dining room, a 14-year-old boy was in the back washing their dishes.

他嘴里蹦出的蹩脚英语我听不大明白,但他紧皱的眉头是通用的语言。那是在小东京(Little Tokyo)一个周五晚上,外面的餐厅里,一家家人享用着五星级大餐,后厨里的一个14岁男孩在洗他们的盘子。

Wash the plates by hand, dump them into the sanitizer, place the plates into the machine, dry the plates off, return the plates to their designated spot and repeat — hopefully without damaging any. On this night though, a porcelain plate slipped through my soapy fingers and shattered onto the floor in five pieces. My face flushed even as I tried to keep my composure, but inside I was screaming, “Why me!?” as if my scream would make the plate whole again.

先用手洗盘子,后把它们泡到消毒剂里,再把盘子放入机器、烘干,然后放到指定位置,接着再来——但愿别打破个把。但这个晚上,一只瓷盘子从我打了肥皂的指间滑了出去,掉到地上摔成了五瓣。我竭力保持冷静,脸却还是通红,心里在尖叫,“为什么是我!?”好像尖叫会让盘子恢复原状似的。

马克·加西亚在洛杉矶的家。他将入学西洛杉矶学院。 JENNA SCHOENEFELD FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

The shattered plate was only one of the many worries fighting relentlessly inside my head for attention — there was the Advanced Placement United States history midterm, a low grade in calculus, the eviction notice, a little brother getting into trouble and a dozen other smaller but pressing concerns.

破碎的盘子只是我头脑里不住按耐着的许多忧心事中的一件——先修课程(Advanced Placement)美国历史要期中考试,微积分成绩太低,收到住房清退通知,弟弟惹上了麻烦,还有十来件相对琐碎但也很紧迫的挂心事。

For me, there was no calling in sick to clear my head, getting some much needed rest or carving out study time before an upcoming exam. I had to contribute to the necessities. I shut up, got back to work and pushed with all the energy I had left. I knew all too well the symptoms of bottling up my emotions — the bitter taste of salt in each drop of sweat, losing myself in the background music and the muscle aches were nothing new to me.

于我而言,没有打电话请病假整理下思绪一说,也没法给自己一些急需的休息,或在临考前腾出些时间学习。我得贴补家用。我闭上嘴,继续工作,用尽浑身所剩的所有力气。我深知压抑情绪之苦——每滴汗水又咸又苦的味道,忘我地沉浸在背景音乐里,肌肉疼痛是家常便饭。

It was 12 a.m. when my shift finally ended. I boarded the bus home and took out my notes to study. I got the usual looks from people fresh out of bars or parties, either because of the stench of a hard night’s work on my clothes or because I was muttering to myself while feverishly flipping flashcards on a bus in the middle of the night.

晚班终于结束时已是半夜12点。我搭上了回家的公交,掏出笔记开始学习。刚从酒吧或派对出来的人朝我递来惯常的目光,要么是因为辛苦工作一整晚后,我的衣服上发着恶臭,要么是我大半夜在公交上一边疯狂翻动学习卡片,一边低声自言自语。

Their stares didn’t bother me at all. I was used to those too, and they were nothing more than another set of speed bumps in the way of achieving my goals. I was tired of seeing childhood friends flashing gang signs, relatives glued to the beer bottle or my dad coming home late at night with burn scars from work. Something had to change and I knew it fell to me to initiate that change.

我完全不介意他们的凝视。这些我也都习惯了,不过是我实现目标之路上的另一组减速带而已。我厌倦了亮出黑帮手势的发小,啤酒不离手的亲戚,或爸爸带着做工留下的烧伤深夜回家。必须做出点改变,而我知道,这种改变需要由我开始。

Fortunately, I also knew I had dedication, desire and grit in my blood. My grandfather was part of the first wave of Mexican immigrants that settled in Los Angeles. He returned home to a small village in rural Oaxaca, with his savings and tales of the land of opportunity.

幸运的是,我也知道我骨子里有奉献、渴望和毅力。祖父是第一波在洛杉矶定居的墨西哥移民。他后来回了瓦哈卡州乡下小村子里的家,带着积蓄和这个机遇之邦的传说。

Both of my parents left Oaxaca in their early teenage years and began working long hours in Los Angeles, as a cook and a maid. The work ethic was passed down generations; from the cornfields in Oaxaca, to the restaurants in Los Angeles, to the classroom, which helped me thrive both in school and work.

父母十来岁便离开瓦哈卡州,开始在洛杉矶没日没夜地工作,做厨师和家政。从瓦哈卡州的玉米田到洛杉矶的餐馆再到教室,这种吃苦耐劳代代相传,让我得以从容应对学业和工作。

On this particular night, as I walked through the front door at home, I saw an uplifting surprise: My mother had fallen asleep waiting up for me despite her own long day. I tucked the cash tips I made that night into her purse and turned off the TV.

就在这个晚上,我走进家门,无意间看到了一个让我欣慰的意外:辛劳了一整天的母亲在等我回家时睡着了。我把当晚拿到的小费塞到她的钱夹里,关掉了电视。

I peered into our bedroom where my brothers and cousins were lost in their blissful dreams. Watching my siblings snore and breathe slowly sparked a yawn that cued the rest of my body’s delayed exhaustion. However, it would be a while before I could join them in sleep. I had an essay due early the next morning, and Ms. DePaolo doesn’t accept late work.

我凝视着卧室里沉入甜美梦乡的兄弟姐妹。看到他们轻轻打鼾、缓缓呼吸的样子,我禁不住打了个哈欠,这才发现自己已经筋疲力竭。可是,我要过会才能和他们一道休息。我还有篇作文明早要交,德保罗老师可不接受不按时交作业。
(翻译:李建芳)

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *