当生命临险之时 Once upon a Life

2011-08-07 20:17:17   Tag:

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当生命临险之时 Once upon a Life:是一种奇怪的动物,总是喜欢对未来产生这样或那样的设想,但行动的结果却往往与设想相差十万八千里;总是以为对自己的个性了如指掌,事实上却只是一个假象。其实,不到危急关头,你很难了解那个深埋在内心深处的自我到底会怎样想,怎么做,有如何反应。这就是变幻莫测的人性,令人充满猜想又捉摸不定……

When I was about 14, a woman came to our school to talk about self-defence. She was a lady in her fifties, with sensibly cut white-blonde hair and a pair of plastic-framed spectacles. There was about her a pervading air of kindness and motherliness.
  在我大概十四岁时,一位女士来我们学校讲授防身术。她五十多岁,一头浅色金发修剪得恰到好处,戴着一副胶框眼镜,周身散发出一种和善、慈爱的气息。

  Her homely appearance was distinctly at odds1) with the rather extreme and frequently violent things she suggested we do to ward off2) potential attackers. We were shown how to transform a bundle of keys into a makeshift3) knuckle-duster4) in order to inflict maximum damage. If that failed, we were advised to go for their eyes with our fingers. All of this was delivered in a kind of soft, fluting voice more readily associated with a demonstration on flower arranging.
  她的外表亲切平和,而她建议我们用来击退那些可能的袭击者时所采取的动作却非常极端,又往往充满暴力,两者相比,真是大相径庭。她向我们演示如何把一大串钥匙变成一个应急指节铜环,给袭击者造成最大的伤害。如果这一招不奏效,她建议我们用手指直戳对方的眼睛。她给我们讲解这一切时,声音柔和清亮,如长笛般悠扬,让人觉得这更像是在做插花演示,而非防袭讲座。

  But years after this talk, when I first moved to London, I felt strangely reassured. On the odd occasion that I found myself walking home at night from the tube5) across a stretch of dimly lit parkland, I would remind myself of the bunch of keys in my handbag that I could whip out with lightning speed to deter any would-be mugger. I walked briskly and confidently, flexing my fingers in readiness for a spot of eye-gouging6), feeling that I would be quite able to fend off any pursuer with a swift knee to the groin7). The longer I lived in London, the savvier8) I felt. It was not confidence exactly, but more that I began to believe I knew how the city worked. I trusted my instincts to keep me safe—my instincts and my bunch of keys.
  不过,听完这堂课多年后,当我第一次搬到伦敦时,却带着一种莫名的自信。我偶尔会在夜晚从地铁站穿过一片灯光昏暗的公用场地走路回家,那时我总是会提醒自己:包里有一大串钥匙,如果遇到抢劫犯,我可以以电闪雷鸣之速抽出钥匙来吓退他。我的步伐轻快而自信,还不时活动活动手指,准备在必要时挖出对方的眼睛,我觉得只要用膝盖对他的腹股沟迅猛一击,任何尾随而来的侵犯者对我来说都不在话下。我在伦敦生活的时间越长,就越觉得自己精明能干。准确地说,这不是一种信心,更主要的原因是,我开始相信自己了解这个城市的运转方式。我相信我的本能反应可以保护自身安全——我的本能反应加上那一大串钥匙。

  It was a Sunday evening in November 2005 when all that changed. I was returning from a work trip and was carrying more bags than usual: a laptop over one shoulder, my handbag over the other and in my right hand, a plastic bag filled with clothes. It was dark by the time I got out of the tube, the air dense with cold.
  但是,在2005年11月一个星期天的晚上,这一切都改变了。那天我出差回来,正往家走,身上带的包比平时要多:一个肩膀上挎着笔记本电脑,另一个肩膀上背着我的手提包,右手还拎了一个装满衣服的塑料袋。我走出地铁站的时候,天已经黑了,空气中寒意袭人。

  I was about 200 metres from my front door when a group of young men appeared around the corner in front of me. I clocked9) them swiftly, without making eye contact. There were four of them, all teenagers. They stopped talking when they saw me, the low murmur of their chatter dropping like a stone through water. But although I felt a brief shiver of apprehension10) at their presence, nothing happened. They walked on without comment.
  就在离我家前门只有两百米左右的时候,一群年轻人出现在我前方的拐角处。我迅速地扫视了他们一眼,没有和他们对视。他们有四个人,都是十几岁的小年轻。他们看见我后就停止了聊天,开始压低声音窃窃私语起来,那声音对我来说就像是往平静的水面扔进了一块石头,让我心里七上八下。尽管看到他们的出现,我心里有那么一小阵恐惧和颤抖,但所幸什么事也没有发生。他们默默地从我身边走过。

  I walked on. There was no one else about. The houses on either side of the street were shuttered and quiet. The only light came from a nearby lamppost. Then I heard footsteps: someone sprinting towards me from behind. I could hear this person running, running, running and I knew, in a split-second of pure certainty, that I was going to get mugged11).
  我继续向前走。四周再没有别的人。街两边的房子都大门紧闭,非常安静。附近的一盏街灯投来仅有的一点光亮。这时我听到了脚步声:有人从后面朝我冲了过来。我能听到这个人一直在跑,跑,跑。在一瞬间我知道,我非常肯定地知道,我要被打劫了。

  Someone pulled hard on my laptop case, snapping my shoulder back with the force of the movement. I reeled, noticing as I stumbled that the four of them had formed a sort of circle around me. None of them said anything and somehow this silence, the sureness of it, was more lethal12) than noise.
  接着就是有人使劲拽我的笔记本电脑包,因为用力太猛,我的肩膀也被向后扯了过去。我打了个趔趄,就在打趔趄的工夫我注意到,他们四个人已经对我形成了包围之势。四个人都一言不发,这样的沉默带着势在必得的意味,实在是比嘈杂的厮打声更有杀伤力。

  A face emerged from the darkness: young, male, with chubby13) cheeks and expressionless eyes. He pushed me against a wall, grabbing hold of my handbag with one hand, tugging at it to make me let go. I kept hold of it, clasping the straps tightly in my hand. He raised his right arm and slammed it down across my face. I remember thinking that it did not hurt as much as I thought it would. I looked at him blankly. My attacker tried again to grab hold of my handbag but again I refused to let go. I held on to it and the only thing I said, throughout it all, was a hoarse, semi-whispered: “No.” I did not scream or shout for help. I did not have my bunch of keys at the ready14) like a makeshift knuckle-duster. In fact, I did not fight back at all. I did nothing. Except, for some reason, I refused to give him my bag. I remember thinking, quite clearly: I’ll let him hit me until it starts to hurt and then I’ll give him the bag.
  这时从黑暗中浮现出一张脸庞:年轻,男性,胖脸蛋,一双眼睛看不出任何表情。他把我推到墙上,一只手抓住我的手提包,使劲地拽,试图让我放手。我紧紧地抓着手提包上的肩带,怎么也不肯松开。他举起右臂,朝我脸上扇了一巴掌。我记得自己当时还在想:这没有我想象中那么疼。我面无表情地看着他。他再一次企图把我的手提包抢走,但我又一次拒绝放手。我牢牢地抓着包,在整个过程中唯一说过的话,就是一句声音沙哑、近乎耳语的“不”。我既没有尖叫,也没有大呼救命。我没有把那一大串准备好的钥匙变成应急的指节铜环。事实上,我压根就没有还手。除了出于某种原因我拒绝把包给他以外,我什么都没做。我非常清晰地记得自己当时的想法:就让他打我吧,等我真的觉得疼了,我再把包给他。

  I was dimly aware of the other three men loitering uneasily on the pavement, awaiting direction from the ringleader15). One of the other boys, impatient at the lack of progress, made a sudden lunge for me, knocking me to the ground. I could feel the laptop being taken and I had no energy left to care. Lying there on the pavement, the coolness of the stone pressing against me, I realised how stupid I had been to resist. Once they had the laptop, they were satisfied. They ran into the darkness without a word.
  当时我隐隐约约地意识到,其他三个男孩正在人行道上不安地徘徊,等着他们的头目发出指令。其中一个男孩看到行动毫无进展,就失去了耐心,猛地朝我冲了过来,一拳将我打倒在地。我能感觉到他们抢走了我的笔记本电脑,但此时我根本无力顾及。我就这么仰面躺在人行道上,冰冷的石头硌着我的身体,我这才意识到自己的抵抗是多么愚蠢。他们一拿到笔记本电脑,立刻便心满意足了,一句话也没说就跑掉了,消失在黑暗中。

  It was only then that I began to be scared. The plastic bag I had been carrying had been slashed in two, its contents taken. The laptop had gone and with it my iPod. One of my shoes was lying on the road, several metres away from me. But my handbag, miraculously, was still mine, as were my keys, my wallet and my mobile phone. I stood up, collected the shoe and limped to my front door, put the key in the lock and fell into the hallway. Immediately, I called the police. When I spoke to them, I realised I was sobbing.
  直到此时,我才开始害怕起来。我本来拎在手里的塑料袋已被扯成两半,里面的东西被抢劫一空。笔记本电脑连同我的iPod都被抢走了。我的鞋子也掉了一只,躺在马路上,离我有好几米远。不过,不可思议的是,我的手提包居然没被抢走,我的钥匙、钱包和手机也都还在包里。我爬了起来,捡起那只鞋子,一瘸一拐地走到我家前门,拿出钥匙开了门,然后就一头栽倒在了门厅里。我立刻打电话报了警。当我和警察说话的时候,才意识到自己是边说边抽泣。

  In the days that followed, I looked back at my behaviour with some astonishment. It did not seem quite real, as though I were trying to make out some faraway object through a layer of thick glass. By holding on to my bag with such recklessness, I had reacted in precisely the opposite way that I would have thought. I had ignored everything I had been taught that day at school about the best way to deal with a mugging which was to scream for help, to give them your bag then get away as fast as you can. I think, perhaps, it was the unfairness of the attack that made me so stubborn: the idea that a stranger could steal something from me that was mine. And that, in the end, overrode my instinct towards self-preservation.
  接下来的几天里,每每回想起我那天的行为,我总是感到惊愕不已。那天发生的一切对我来说似乎都不太真实了,就像我正在透过一层厚玻璃,努力去看清很远处的某个东西。我不顾一切地死死拽住我的包,这样的反应和我曾经以为自己会作出的反应完全相反。那天在学校里我学到过,如果遇到抢劫,最好的办法是大呼救命,把你的包交给劫匪,然后尽快逃跑。可事到临头时,我把这一切都抛在了脑后。我想,也许是因为我觉得这样的攻击太不公平了,所以才会有那么固执的反应:凭什么一个陌生人可以抢走本来属于我的东西。而这个想法最终超越了我的自我保护本能。

  For about three months after it happened, I felt frightened. When I walked to the tube in the morning, I would take a lit cigarette with me, believing that it would be a more effective weapon to stab in someone’s face than a bunch of keys. In the end, I sold my flat and moved to a different part of the city.
  在事发后大约三个月的时间里,我一直惊魂未定。当我早上步行去地铁站时,我总会在手里拿一支点燃的香烟,心里认定用这个“武器”去戳袭击者的脸会比一串钥匙更管用。最后,我卖掉了原来的公寓,搬到了这座城市的另一个区域。

  I realised that you can never truly know how anyone will react in an extreme situation. You can be taught the right thing to do, you can have it drilled into you and you can believe that you will carry this out, but, in the end, we are unpredictable beasts. People make the most extraordinary decisions and can behave in wholly irrational ways. They are constantly interesting. I thought I knew myself fairly well before I was mugged, but I didn’t. I simply knew what I ought to do, not how I would actually respond.
  我已经意识到,你永远都无法真正了解一个人在极端情形之下会作出怎样的反应。你可以学习正确的方法,你可以通过训练掌握这种方法,你也可以相信事情发生时你会把所学的方法和技巧都发挥出来,但最后的结果证明,我们人类是一种难以捉摸的动物。人会作出最不寻常的决定,也会表现得毫无理性。人类非常有趣,一贯如此。在被抢劫之前,我认为我非常了解自己,但事实上并非如此。我只是知道我应该怎么做,但我并不知道自己实际上会有怎样的反应。

  If it happened to me again, I like to think I would hand over my bag without question. But I have no means of knowing whether this would be so. I suppose, in some respects, this is why I will always be endlessly curious about people because, however many questions you ask, however many scenarios you might imagine, no one will ever truly understand what goes on beneath another person’s skin. And that, in its own way, is a wonderful mystery to keep unravelling16).
  如果这种事在我身上重演一次,我愿意想像自己二话不说就把包交给劫匪。但我却无法预知事到临头时自己是否真的会这么做。我想,从某方面来说,这就是为什么我总是对人感到无尽的好奇,因为无论你问了多少个问题,无论你设想了多少种情节,没有人能够真正了解在另一个人的外表下会有怎样真实的内心。而这一点本身,就是一个引人不断孜孜求解的奇妙而神秘的命题。

  1. at odds:不和谐,不相称
  2. ward off:挡住;避开
  3. makeshift [ˈmeɪkˌʃɪft] adj. 临时代用的;暂时凑合的
  4. knuckle-duster:指节铜环(一种套在指节上的打人武器)
  5. tube [tjuːb] n. [英] (伦敦等地的)地铁
  6. gouge [ɡaʊdʒ] vt. 挖出,挖取
  7. groin [ɡrɔɪn] n. 腹股沟
  8. savvy:参见48页注释3
  9. clock [klɒk] vt. 注意;观察
  10. apprehension [ˌæprɪˈhenʃ(ə)n] n. 忧惧,担心
  11. mug [mʌɡ] vt. 从背后袭击并抢劫
  12. lethal [ˈliːθl] adj. 危险的
  13. chubby [ˈtʃʌbɪ] adj. 圆胖的;圆脸的;丰满的
  14. at the ready:准备就绪
  15. ringleader [ˈrɪŋˌliːdə(r)] n. (违法活动中的)头目,首恶
  16. unravel [ʌnˈræv(ə)l] v. 弄清;阐明;解决,解开



原文地址: http://www.joyen.net/article/reading/2/201107/4437.html#ixzz1ULRIYPSS
转载自快乐英语网

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