【英语角】骑自行车的日子

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来源:新东方英语(IDNOE_XDFYY

平日里,总有人想以某个新起点为契机,改变自己的某些生活习惯,尝试另一种生活方式。比如说,从无肉不欢到完全吃素,从名牌服饰到基础款,从开车上班到骑车前行。当然,每次改变都伴随着一定的痛苦,与旧习惯划清界限、与内心的懒惰作斗争并不简单。在不断地挣扎与纠结中,一路走下来,也许我们收获的将不仅仅是健康的生活方式,还有对自我的坚持。


精读时间

 Last year, after three months in a book group focused on sustainability, I made a New Year’s resolution: to retire my car and bike everywhere. It was a good time to begin new habits. Having started a new job in a different part of town, three miles from home, I didn’t have a parking space. No car-bound routine had yet evolved.

去年,我参加了一个以“可持续发展”为主题的读书小组,在小组学习三个月后,我立下了自己的新年誓言:让自己的汽车退休,无论去哪里,都骑自行车前往。这是一个养成新习惯的大好时机。那时我刚刚在市区的另一个地方找到新的工作,离家有三英里远,我没有停车位,因此还没有开始车来车往的生活。


But I am an unlikely cyclist. I don’t read magazines like Bike Monkey. I don’t have a cyclocomputer, or mudguards. To tell the truth, I don’t even know what kind of bike I have. Add to this the fact that I live in Portland,  Ore. The rainy season, when puddles obscure the bike lanes, lasts half a year. Then add in the fact that I am uncommonly vain1) and I have a job that requires me on most days to get up in front of groups of people, to lecture and to run meetings. Vain people hate to be soggy2) when they stand in front of crowds, and I’ve never been so punctual that I could fit in3) a shower before work.

但我并不是一个地道的自行车迷。我不看《自行车迷》之类的杂志,也没有里程计或者挡泥板之类的装备。说实话吧,我甚至不知道自己的自行车属于哪一类。此外,还有一个因素,那就是我住在俄勒冈州的波特兰市,这里一年有一半时间都是雨季,自行车道常常被一汪汪水坑所淹没。还有,我这人不是一般地爱面子。由于工作的缘故,我多数日子都要在人群前抛头露面,做演讲或者主持会议。爱面子的人最恨的就是像落汤鸡似的出现在人群面前。而我又从不会到得太早,因此没有时间在工作前冲个澡。




After my first few days of winter biking, I develop the mad, early-morning scramble that becomes my everyday routine. Iron dress shirt4) and khakis5), roll them, stuff them in the black, rain-proof panniers6). Don7) protective rain gear and fasten my ill-fitting helmet and resolve to leave more time to tighten the straps. In the last minutes tear up8) and down the stairs of the house, ranting and cursing, searching for keys.

自从冬日骑行计划实施几天之后,我就开始了一大早手忙脚乱、晕头转向的日子,这已成了我每天的必修课。熨烫好衬衫和卡其裤,把它们卷成卷,塞进防雨的黑色自行车驮篮里。披上防护性的雨具,系好大小不合适的头盔,一边心里还惦记着多留一点时间来系紧带子。在最后几分钟,一边楼上楼下地奔跑找钥匙,一边大声地吼叫、咒骂。


Glance at the clock. Oh shit. Wonder if my co-workers will judge me for being late or if my boss will notice when I arrive. Lift my bike and drag it up the basement steps. Open the door. Observe the gray frigidity of the day. Wait for the familiar rush of rationalizations, a Siren-like chorus lulling me back into old, car-bound patterns.

看一眼时钟。啊!糟糕!不知道同事们会不会责备我迟到呢?进门时会不会被老板看到呢?扛起自行车,摇摇晃晃地走上地下室台阶。打开门,看着阴沉寒冷的天气,心里又将开始那种熟悉的纠结与挣扎,无数的声音在心里同时响起,像海妖的歌声一样充满诱惑,引诱我回到从前那种车来车往的生活模式。


It’s too cold.        天太冷。
It’s raining hard.    雨太大。

I have to lead a meeting today.     我今天还要主持会议。


Just this one time I’ll drive. Only once a week is still better than driving every day.

开车吧,仅此一次。一周仅一次而已,仍然要胜过每天开车


Boy, I could turn the heater on in the car. I could stop and get hot coffee.

嘿,开车的话,我就可以开暖气了,还可以停下来喝杯热咖啡。


If I drove the car, I would make courtesy stops for every cyclist I saw. I would be a model driver, smiling and waving.

我要是开车,就会给我见到的每一个骑车人礼貌让行。我会是一个模范司机,微笑着挥手让他人先行。


Every day I have to fight through9) my resistance.

每天我都要跟自己打架,驱赶这些念头。 


Once I made an informal sociological observation of the cyclists who share the cavernous bike cage in the back of the parking garage where I work. On sunny days it’s stuffed. On rainy cold days, the number dwindles to three or four. Most people, even in green-crazy Portland, are fair-weather10) cyclists. Most people, I assume, struggle with the same psychological and environmental barriers that I do.

在我工作场所的停车库后面,有一个洞穴般的自行车棚,我曾经对在那里停自行车的人进行过一次非正式的社会学观察。结果发现,在阳光明媚的日子里,车棚里的车停得满满当当。而在寒冷的雨天,车的数量则会骤减,只有三四辆。即使在崇尚绿色生活的波特兰,大多数人也都是只在晴天才会骑车出行。我猜想,多数人估计都和我一样,在和同样的心理与环境障碍作斗争。 




I don’t want to be a fair-weather biker. Thus evolves my curious obsession, not with biking and its accouterments11), but with understanding a particular form of suffering. Maybe “suffering” is a grandiose word. Biking in rainy Portland is not starvation in Mumbai. For me regular bike commuting is suffering in a more Buddhist sense of the word, with a disavowal12) of comfortable, car-bound attachments.

我并不想成为一个只喜欢与晴天做伴的骑行者。这使我陷入了一种奇怪的沉迷状态,不是沉湎于自行车及其配套装备,而是执着于对某种特定痛苦形式的理解。也许使用“痛苦”一词过于浮夸矫情了。毕竟,在阴雨绵绵的波特兰骑自行车和在孟买挨饥受饿不可同日而语。对我来说,坚持骑自行车上下班的痛苦更像是佛教意义上的痛苦,是对舒适的驾车生活的一种摈弃。 


In spite of the cold and rain and the rationalizations invading my brain, I dash out the basement door and bike like a madman. This routine gives me an intimate familiarity with many hardships cyclists face. Is this suffering real? I wonder. Can I lessen the suffering by having a different relationship to the hardships, a different way of thinking?

尽管天冷、雨大,尽管满脑子都是纠结与挣扎,我还是会冲出地下室的门,像个疯子一样蹬着自行车。这一习惯使我切身体会到骑行者所遭遇的种种艰辛。但这种痛苦是真实的吗?我不禁想问。通过对艰辛的不同体验或者凭着不同的思考方式,我能以此减轻痛苦的程度吗? 


Here’s one theory: My ambivalence about biking is rooted in the shapes of our car-accommodating roads. Even in what is supposedly the most bike-friendly city in theUnited   States, biking is challenging. The road can be unfriendly. The reality of the Portland biker can be summarized in one typical image: the disappearing bike lane. Often, as I pedal, safe within a margin defined by a white line, cars zipping along my side, I cross an intersection and the road narrows. Suddenly, the bike lane disappears. It’s just me and the cars. Shit! Should I have known the bike lane would end? Should I go up on the sidewalk? Am I, like the bike lane, supposed to vanish? And what were the traffic engineers thinking when they had those incomplete bike lanes painted? “Here’s where the damn cyclists will die,” they must have said, cackled13), and sped away in their cars.

有一种解释是,我对骑自行车欲迎还拒的矛盾心态,在于我们的道路是为汽车设计的。在美国,即使在人们认为最适合骑自行车的城市里,骑车也是一种挑战。道路可能不利于骑行。在波特兰市,骑行者所要面对的现实可以用一个典型现象来概括:消失的自行车道。通常,当我骑车时,在一条白线划定的区域内我是安全的,汽车从我身边呼啸而过,然后当我穿过一个十字路口时,道路就变窄了。突然,自行车道就消失了,只剩下我和呼啸而过的汽车。见鬼!我怎么知道自行车道就这样没了?我应该拐到人行道上去吗?我是不是也应该和自行车道一起消失呢?在划出这些不完整的自行车道时,那些交通工程师们脑子里都在想什么呢?他们一定在说:“让那些该死的骑车人死在这里吧。”然后哈哈大笑,乘车扬长而去。 

Other obstacles are seasonal. My first spring and summer biking to work—glorious weather!—pass quickly. In autumn, the leaves start to fall. In the early morning as I pedal to work, city leaf-blowers line the streets, sifting dust into the air. They’re doing someone a public service, but it’s not me. Even when I shield my eyes, debris invades my nose and mouth. If I don’t keep at least one squinted eye on the road, I’ll run into the curb.

还有一些障碍是季节性的。在我骑车上班的日子里,春天和夏天——那些风和日丽的日子——很快就过去了。秋天,树叶开始飘落。一大早当我骑车上班时,吹叶机就开始在大街上列队工作了,扬起漫天灰尘。对某些人来说,这是一种公共服务,但对我来说不是。即使我护住眼睛,灰尘也会侵入我的鼻子和嘴巴里。我眯缝起的眼睛必须有一只要盯着路,不然我就会撞到马路牙子上。 




In Portland there’s never more than a few days of snow, and it’s usually only a few inches. Only one day did I try biking in the snow, and that clearly wasn’t meant to be. Coming down a ramp14), I slipped, and slid, and ultimately crashed, and walked my bike to work, skinned and limping. For the rest of the snowy weather, I walked to work.

在波特兰,下雪的日子从来不会超过几天,每次下的雪也通常只有几英寸厚。可是有一天我试图在雪地里骑行,结果可想而知,根本行不通。在一段下坡路上,自行车打滑了,滑行了几步终于摔倒在地,我只好忍着擦伤的疼痛,一瘸一拐地推着自行车去上班。从那以后,每当下雪,我都走着去上班。 


After the snow comes the residual gravel. The city helps car drivers by throwing gravel into the snowy streets. Once the snow melts and disappears, though, for months gravel remains on the roads. The whiz of cars sweeps it into the bike lane. On wet days gravel adheres to my tires and pelts15) me. I cover my eyes and steal glances at the road. Later, when I look in the bathroom mirror at work, my face is pock-marked with black soot. Even after I vigorously rub the marks with a wet paper towel, the spots remain. Faded tattoos. Or bruises.

下雪过后还有残留的碎石。为了帮助汽车平稳行驶,市政部门向白雪覆盖的大街上抛撒碎石。然后积雪消融之后,碎石却还会留在道路上数月之久。疾驰而过的汽车将碎石卷向自行车道。在阴雨天,碎石会粘在轮胎上,或者崩打在我身上。我遮挡住眼睛,不时地向道上瞥上一眼。后来,我在办公楼卫生间的镜子里发现,我脸上布满了黑点,像麻子一样。即使我拿湿纸巾用力地擦拭这些黑点,也无法将它们完全擦除。这些黑点看起来就像褪色的纹身或者擦伤的痕迹。  


I look like the city streets beat the shit out of me16).

我那样子看起来就像被城市道路痛扁了一顿。


Can I call in sick?

我能打电话请病假吗?


Will my co-workers think I’m homeless?

同事们会认为我已流浪街头了吗?


Nevertheless, I stand in front of a roomful of people, about to lead a meeting. They are dry and I am wet, like the day is wet. Here’s another theory about my biking ambivalence: Like many people, I am afraid of being wet and disheveled, even though I live in one of the rainiest climates in the country. Even though we all have to walk through it and we all eventually dry off, we humans need to separate ourselves from the harsher aspects of the environment. Dry clothes, we tell ourselves, are civilized. They’re certainly more comfortable.

说来说去,我还是要站在满满一屋子人前,准备主持会议。他们个个都干爽洁净,而我却浑身潮湿,跟外面的天气一样。这就是我对骑自行车存有爱恨交织的矛盾心态的又一种解释:即使我生活在美国雨水最多的气候环境里,但和许多人一样,我害怕把自己弄得湿淋淋,搞得凌乱不堪。即使我们都要从雨中走过,最后也能把雨水擦干,但我们人类需要让自己与恶劣的环境分离开来。我们告诉自己,干燥的衣服是文明的标记。它们当然也更加舒适。


Curiously, as I catalog more and more obstacles, more and more shapes of cyclist suffering, I become more determined. I don’t want the environmental obstacles to become my own excuse. I don’t want to see the seasons as the enemy. My obsession grows. Not only do I bike to and from work every day, but I start biking to meetings in different buildings during the day, instead of reserving a company car. At first, hopping on my bike to pedal two miles to my next meeting, I feel guilty, as if I shouldn’t bike while on paid time. But this is Portland, I think to myself. The Green Mecca17). When I arrive, bike helmet under my arm, hair damp and mashed, it will be a badge of honor.

说来也怪,我罗列的障碍和骑行者所忍受的痛苦越多,我的决心就越大。我不想让环境障碍成为自己的借口。我不想让季节成为自己的敌人。我的沉迷越来越深了。我不光每天骑车上下班,而且在上班期间也骑车往返于各个大楼参加会议,而不是预订公司轿车。最初,跳上自行车骑行两英里去参加下一个会议时,我心里还有一种负疚感,觉得不应该在上班时间骑自行车。但这里是波特兰,我对自己说,崇尚绿色生活的圣地。所以,我腋下夹着头盔,头发又湿又乱地到达会场,将是一种荣誉的标志。 


No one complains. My appearance, it seems, is perennially rumpled18), my hair sweaty and disheveled.

没有人抱怨。从外表看,我似乎一直都是这么不修边幅,头发湿漉漉的,凌乱不堪。 


I look like it’s raining outside.

我的样子看起来就像外面在下雨。


Because it is raining outside.

因为外面确实在下雨。


Why pretend otherwise?

何必伪装成其他样子呢?


As I head into the new year, I have kept my resolution to bike every day, in spite of the hurdles. I don’t plan to stop. There are the predictable pleasures, of course. I lose weight. I sleep soundly. The stresses of the workplace glide over me. Even my appetite improves, as I eat because I need energy for my biking lifestyle, not because I’m bored or sleep-deprived.

在新年来临之际,我依然坚守着每天骑自行车的决心,尽管障碍重重。我不打算停下来。当然,这也给我带来了许多可以预见的快乐。我的体重减轻了。我睡觉也香了。工作压力不见了。甚至我的胃口也变好了,因为我不再因无聊或者失眠而进食,而是因为我需要能量来维持骑行的生活方式。


Winter days are still difficult. Rationalizations still lurk on the periphery19) of my mind, but whispery, more easily ignored. As I lug my bike up the basement stairs, open the door, and inhale the cold morning, I have a different mantra20) I repeat in my head:

冬天的日子依然不那么好过。纠结与挣扎依然潜伏在我脑中的某个角落,但轻声细语,更容易被忽略掉。当我把自行车从地下室楼梯上拖出来,打开门,深吸一口清晨的冷空气,我换了一套咒语。我在心中反复吟诵道: 


Accept rain.    接受下雨天。

Accept puddles.    接受水坑。
Accept wind resistance.    接受风的阻力。

Accept disappearing bike lanes.    接受消失的自行车道。


I climb onto my bike and feel the muscles in my legs come awake as I pedal down the wet, black street. My lungs fill with frigid air. In the fluid rush of morning I am just another whizzing particle.

我跨上自行车,骑行在潮湿、黢黑的街道上,感到腿上的肌肉在慢慢苏醒。我的肺部充满了冷空气。在清晨川流不息的车辆中,我仅仅是其中一颗匆匆而过的粒子。


难词注释
1.       vain [veɪn] adj. 爱虚荣的


2.       soggy [ˈsɒɡi] adj. 浸水的;湿透的
3.       dress shirt:(尤指上班时穿的)男式白衬衫(或浅色)衬衫
4.       fit in:给……安排时间
5.       khakis [ˈkɑːkiz] n. 卡其裤;卡其服装
6.       pannier [ˈpæniə(r)] n. 驮篮
7.       don [dɒn] vt. 穿上
8.       tear up:(沿着道路等)飞奔上去
9.       fight through:(使)想方设法克服
10.    fair-weather:晴天的;限于好天气的
11.    accouterments [əˈkuːtərmənts] n. 装备,配备
12.    disavowal [ˌdɪsəˈvaʊəl] n. 否定,否认
13.    cackle [ˈkæk(ə)l] vi. 嘎嘎笑
14.    ramp [ræmp] n. 斜坡,坡道
15.    pelt [pelt] vt. 攻击或投掷
16.    beat the shit out of sb.:把某人打得落花流水,满地找牙
17.    Mecca [ˈmekə] n. 麦加(沙特阿拉伯一座城市);胜地,令人向往的地方
18.    rumpled [ˈrʌmp(ə)ld] adj. 凌乱的
19.    periphery [pəˈrɪf(ə)ri] n. 外围,边缘
20.    mantra [ˈmæntrə] n. 咒语




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