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我的座机情结

不知道你是否曾有这样的经历:一家人围在一部电话旁,等待着远方亲人的消息;电话薄中记下班里那个女孩的电话号码,忐忑拨通后发现接听的却不是她;买张电话卡冲进路边的电话亭,拨下那串在心中烂熟的号码……这些曾是好几代人的回忆。但在几乎人手一部手机的今天,固定电话似乎成了家庭中多余之物。

我的座机情结


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By Murr Brewster

马玉芳 选注

We’ve had the same landline for almost 40 years, since before anyone called it a “landline,” and it’s hard to give it up. Our phone number would be floating out there in space somewhere, whimpering like a dog that got left behind. And we have a cool number. It’s got two zeros in it, just like my childhood phone number, only without the stigma. Nobody liked to dial zeros back in the 1950s, when we all had rotary phones. It took too much work, and if you were in a hurry your finger might slip out of the little hole before you got it all the way around, and then you’d have to start over. But by the time we got the landline, all you had to do was push a button.

Still, this phone is annoying. There’s hardly ever anybody on the other end of it anymore that I want to talk to. Instead it’s someone telling me there’s nothing wrong with my credit card. Or someone who wants to know how old my roof is, or if I’d like to take a short survey. It’s nobody I know.

One of the reasons people say you should keep the landline is that the connection is better, and you might want it for certain conversations. Which just goes to show how much we’ve forgotten about what a real phone – one with a cord – should sound like.

They sounded wonderful. When direct long-distance dialing first became available, my mom would call her brother in North Dakota, and they’d spend an exhilarating minute telling each other they sounded as if they were in the next room. Then they’d hang up. And it was true. People did sound as though they were in the next room.

That’s because their voices didn’t have to guess where they were going. They got to travel inside honest-to-goodness enclosed wires the whole way, completely out of the weather, and they’d come out all creamy on the receiving end. Nowadays your voice has to find its way through the air and bump into mosquitoes and hurricanes and such, and by the time it gets to your friend’s phone it sounds as though it’s coming from the bottom of a box of crackers.

But it’s considered an improvement because we don’t have to be tethered to a wall, even though that wouldn’t be the worst idea for a lot of us.

Anyway, back then, if you heard a little crackle on your phone, you’d call up The Phone Company and they’d send out some guy with his name stitched on his shirt to polish it up for you free of charge. The wires were all tucked away inside the house through one neatly caulked hole in the siding. Now the landline brings in crunchy noises, the sound of squirrels chewing, and a background layer of generalized infrastructural tinnitus. You don’t report any of it as long as you can still make out the conversation, because it will cost you a hundred bucks to have some repairman poke a toe inside your house. If you can keep him outside, he’ll haul out a bunch of new wire and staple it in careless loops to the side of your house like bunting. But it does sound marginally better than the cellphone, because there’s no delay.

These days, when my landline rings, it’s usually a complete stranger calling to ask me how I am today, so I try to just let it ring. But it’s hard. I spent formative decades racing to answer the phone because otherwise I’d have no idea who was on the other end. I still feel the urge to jump up and answer at the cellular level.

So it’s probably no use. I’ll have to keep the phone. It’s securely fastened to my past, and I don’t want to lose one more thing.

Vocabulary

1. dial up: 拨号;landline: 座机,固话。

2. float: 漂浮;whimper: 抽泣,呜咽;leave behind: 丢下。

3. stigma: 耻辱,污名。

4. rotary phone: 转盘电话。

5. slip out: 不知不觉地滑掉;get something all the way around: 完全解决,此处指拨完电话号码。

6. conversation: 会话,谈话。

7. cord: (细)绳。

8. North Dakota: 北达科他州,美国中北部一州;exhilarating: 令人欢欣的。

9. hang up: 挂断(电话)。

10. 他们的声音通过真正的密封线缆进行传播,完全不受天气的影响,然后从听筒中如奶油般滑出。honest-to-goodness: 真正的;enclosed: 被包住的;creamy: 奶油般柔滑的;receiving end: 接收端。

11. 现在,你的声音必须在空中传播,中间会遇见蚊子、飓风等等,等它到达你朋友的耳朵之时,听起来像是从饼干盒底部发出来的一样。bump into: 偶然遇见;mosquito: 蚊子;hurricane: 飓风;cracker: 薄脆饼干。

12. tether: 用绳拴住,束缚。

13. 无论如何,在那个时候,如果你听到你的电话有一丝杂音,你可以给电话公司打电话,他们会派一个穿着缝有自己名字的T恤的员工过来为你免费维修。crackle: 噼啪声;stitch: 缝;polish up: 改进;free of charge: 免费。

14. tuck away: 把…放置在隐蔽的地方;neatly: 整齐地;caulked: 捻缝的,填塞的;siding: 壁板,墙板。

15. crunchy: 发嘎吱嘎吱声的;squirrel: 松鼠;chew: 咀嚼;background: 背景;layer: 层;generalized: 广泛的;infrastructural: 基础设施的;tinnitus: 耳鸣。

16. make out: 尽力做;buck: 美元;repairman: 修理工人;poke: 把…戳进;toe: 脚趾。

17. haul out: 拉出;a bunch of: 一束;staple: 用钉钉住或固定;loop: (用线、绳、带等打成的)环;bunting: (装饰用)彩旗。

18. marginally: 略微地;delay: 延迟。

19. formative: 成长的,发展的。

20. urge: 冲动;cellular: 手机的。

21. securely: 牢固地;fasten: 把……系在。

——选自:译声青岛翻译公司

 

译声青岛翻译公司目前是国内专业的翻译机构之一,译声青岛翻译公司秉承“诚信 专业”的服务理念,为国内外客户提供一流翻译服务。了解更多信息:请直接致电:400-600-6870咨询。

 

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