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A Year Without Made in China

没有“中国制造”的一年

(美)萨拉·邦乔妮 Sara Bongiorni

胡宗锋  苦丁(译)

CHAPTER ELEVEN  The China Season

第十一章 中国季(三)

I let the children stay home from school after they wake up with runny noses. They sit in a trance in front of the television for most of the morning, and then I drag them to the drugstore for cold medicine.

早上起床后我发现孩子们鼻涕个不停,就让他们呆在家里没去幼儿园。整个上午,他们都恍恍惚惚地在电视机前,然后我载他们去百货店买感冒药。

A Chinese Christmas is in full display. We entertain ourselves pressing the button on a dancing Frosty the Snowman from China, then spend several minutes looking at labels on the undersides of miniature Christmas trees, candleholders in the form of ceramic houses, and other yuletide fare, all made in China. I think maybe Wes is proving to be a precocious child and teaching himself to read because each time we examine a label together he shakes his head and solemnly announces that it is from China. Then he hands me a metal tin with a candle in it that says Made in Hong Kong on the bottom.

那里展现的是一派中国圣诞的气象。我们先是摁了一个会跳舞的中国霜雪人玩(霜雪人Frosty the Snowman,又译为“结霜的雪人”是一首经典的圣诞歌曲——译者注),然后花了几分钟时间查看微型圣诞树,陶瓷房子形的烛台,还有其他圣诞节东西的标签,都是中国制造。我想维斯或许在证明自己是个智慧超前的孩子,他自学认字了。因为每次我们一起查看标签,他总是摇摇头,严肃地宣布这是中国的。然后他递给我一个有蜡烛的金属盒,底部写着香港制造。

“Another one from China,” Wes sighs.

I bite my tongue.

“又一个中国制造”,维斯叹息着。

我忍着没说话。

Wes makes me promise that next year he can buy a miniature Christmas tree with tiny colored ornaments on it. He turns to Sofie with the good news.

“Mama says I can get this when the China season comes,” he tells her, holding up the tree. She looks impressed.

维斯要我保证,明年他可以买一个小圣诞树,上面挂很多彩色饰品。然后转身把这个好消息告诉了苏菲。

“妈妈说中国季来的时候我就可以买这个了”,他举着那棵树对她说,苏菲显得很感动。

It’s a pleasant way to pass the time with the children, and there is just one alarming moment.

“Oh, no!” I hear Wes exclaim.

跟孩子们在一起总是很快活,不过也有烦心的时候。

“哦,不——”,我听见维斯喊。

I jump and take a few steps down the aisle toward him, thinking maybe he’s cut his hand on something. I look for blood but see none. Wes is holding the box of cold medicine in his hand and peering intently at the writing on the outside of it.

我跳起来几步跨到他身边,想着他是不是被什么东西划了手。我急着四处找寻血迹不过没有。维斯手里拿着一盒感冒药,专注地看着上面的文字。

“This scared me because I thought it might be from China,” he says as he hands it to me. I check the box of cold medicine and find a Rhode Island address. Not from China, I assure him.

“吓了我一跳,我原以为这是中国的”,他边递给我边说。我查了下感冒药的盒子,发现上面的地址是罗得岛。不是中国的,我向他保证。

We leave the store with the cold medicine and a box of American Kleenex. At least for now you can still blow your nose without China.

买了一盒感冒药和美国产的面巾纸,我们离开了百货店。至少现在擤鼻可不用中国制造。

More notes on a China boycott:

A friend of ours stops her minivan in the street one afternoon and waves me over to the driver’s side window.

更多有关抵制中国制造的摘记:

一天下午一个朋友在街上停下她的小货车,招手让我去驾驶窗口。

“My thirteen-year-old daughter is giving up stuff made in China for you,” she says. “I thought you’d like to know. And that’s on top of Wal-Mart, which she also gave up for you. She adores you.”

“我13岁的女儿为了你放弃了中国的东西”,她说,“我想你乐意知道的。而且首当其冲的就是沃尔玛,她为了你也不去了。她很崇拜你。”

I’m not sure what to say. Thank you? That’s nice? Is it nice? Nobody has ever given up Wal-Mart or China for me before, at least not of his or her free will. I’m still trying to figure out what to say when my friend winds up her window and continues down the street.

我不知道该说什么。谢谢?这样很好?这样好吗?还从未有人为了我放弃中国产品或沃尔玛,至少不是自相情愿。当我还在想着要说什么的时候,那个朋友已经摇上车窗走人了。

I order a box of German Christmas toys from a fancy children’s catalog. I am shocked when the box arrives. What shocks me is the size of the box. It’s no larger than a shoebox, although I spent close to $200 for its contents.

我从一个花哨的儿童广告上订了一盒德国圣诞玩具。送到的时候我吃了一惊。让我震惊的是包装盒,和一个鞋盒差不多大,我为了里面的东西花了差不多200美元啊。

My order seemed enormous and decadent when I called the catalog, but as I unpack the box it all looks dinky and unimpressive. These toys are charming, in good taste, and well made, but as I look them over it dawns on me that these same qualities might count against them from the point of view of the children, who like toys that are loud, large, and in questionable taste; in other words, ordinary toys, which means Chinese toys. And, as I mentioned, these toys are so small. The family of four hand-painted dolls from Germany that cost $80 could fit inside a coffee cup. The father doll can’t be more than five inches tall. There is also a set of tiny German doll-house furniture and even tinier German dollhouse accessories, including a toaster and other kitchen utensils that are practically microscopic.

我打电话时我的订单似乎很大很迂腐,可当我拆开包装时,它却那么小、那么不起眼。东西很迷人,也有品味,做工精细,可是再看我就觉得这些品质不合小朋友的口味,孩子们喜欢的是体形大,声音大的玩具,品味一般;换句话说,就是普通玩具,也就是说是中国玩具。而眼下这就像我提到的很小。这套手绘的德国四口之家花了我80美元,一个咖啡杯就能装下。那位爸爸身高不过5寸,里面还有小型德国家具,甚至更小的玩具屋的附件,诸如烤箱,还有其他微型器皿。

There are other unpleasant surprises in the box. A wooden bathtub boat that the customer-service rep assured me was made in Poland says something else on the outside of its box: Made in China.

还有其它令我不快的意想不到之事。客服员明明告诉我那个木头的浴缸船是波兰的,而盒子外面却写着:中国制造。

It hits me that I’ve spent nearly one third of our holiday budget on this one shoebox worth of toys. I recently suggested to Kevin that we cap our holiday spending at $681 after I read someplace that NPD Group, a retail research firm, predicts the average American family will spend that amount on gifts during the holidays. We are an average enough family in my opinion, although at this point we are not typical, since the typical American family will be spending most of its $681 on Chinese Christmas presents that will thrill their typical American children on the morning of December 25.

我突然想到,我花了我们节日预算的近1/3,就买了这么一鞋盒子的玩具。我读了市场调查公司的某个报道,说一般美国家庭节日里的礼物花销是681美元,我就建议凯文我们要控制在那个数字以内。在我看来我们是个很一般般的美国家庭,虽然在某种意义上我们不那么普通,因为普通的美国家庭会将681美元的大多数花在中国圣诞礼物上,这会让孩子们在12月25日清晨兴奋不已。

It seemed like a sinful amount at the time, but suddenly I’m worried that it will be tough going to keep from busting through the $681 spending cap. After all, the little box had only two things for Wes: the wooden boat from Poland/China, which I’m now going to have to return, and a second wooden boat, made in Germany, powered by rubber bands. In other words, I’ve just burned through close to 30 percent of our Christmas budget and Wes still faces the prospect of next to nothing under the tree, including not a single thing powered by “mote katrol.” Not only that, after looking over my order of German merchandise, I realize that what I really need are large, non-Chinese gifts for the children, which I suspect will be even harder to find than small ones.

当时这似乎就是个罪恶的数字,可是突然我担心把预算压在681美元挺难的。到现在,这个小盒子里只有两件给维斯的礼物。那个波兰/中国的木头船,现在我必须退回去,还有一个德国木头船,用橡皮圈作动力。也就是说,我浪费了差不多百分之三十的圣诞节资金,而维斯的圣诞树下基本上还是空无一物,也没有一件“要啃”玩具。不仅如此,看了我订的德国产品后,我发现我需要的是大个的非中国制造的儿童玩具,而我怀疑这比小的更难找。

There is also the matter of friends and relatives who will be sending us gifts, and presumably hoping that we will send something to them, although I prefer not to think about that now. I’ve got enough on my hands as it is.

I start to feel sorry for myself, so I call my mother, hoping she will feel sorry for me, too.

还有亲戚朋友送中国玩具的事情,当然我们也要送东西给他们,尽管我现在宁愿不想这些,手头的事就够多的了。

我开始同情自己,于是打电话给妈妈,希望她也能同情我。

(刊于《美文》2011年第11期)