2016年6月12日 星期日

Me, Twenty-Five Years Ago 二十五年前的我


25 years is a long time ago.  In 1991 I was still a high school student, still living with my parents, and still living in Seattle.  As years of my life go, 1991 was one of the worst.  二十五年前的事真是久遠.  1991年的時候我還在念高中, 跟父母一起住在西雅圖.  在我的生命中, 1991年是最差的幾年的其中之一.

One of the things that made that year so bad was the prospect of death.  Yes, that's right, death.  At only 16 years of age, I was thinking about death a lot.  One reason for this was a friend's attempted suicide during that year.  Another reason was my grandmother's passing, not long before.  Thinking too much about death doesn't give you the best perspective on life, you know?  讓那一年難過的事情是 "人會死" 這件事.  你沒看錯.  就是"死亡".  十六歲的我一直想著這件事情.  會這麼想的理由有二.  一是那一年我一個朋友自殺, 二是我外婆那一年過世.  思考太多關於死亡的事當然會讓我的觀念越來越灰暗.

Add to this the fact that I was just another awkward teenager, dealing with both feelings of inferiority and pressure from peers.  During my first year of high school I was bullied a lot, and in my second year I was still sensitive about it.  A lot of my sensitivity stemmed from an incident in which I was thrown from a second story window by several classmates.  After falling two floors to the (hard) ground below, I didn't have the best feeling about kids my own age.  當然還因為是處於青少年時期的關係.  我那時候不是很喜歡自己, 也感受到同儕的壓力.  我高中一年級的時候常被欺負, 到二年級時我還是很在意這件事.  我會這麼在意是從同學們把我從二樓的窗戶丟出去開始.  被這樣對待之後, 我對同學的感覺當然不太好.

The thing was, most of it was in my mind.  I realize that now.  But at the time I was very standoffish, and very defensive.  In some ways I was spoiling for a fight.  I wanted people to start up trouble, just so I had a reason to exact "revenge" for what I'd endured the year before.  Fortunately for me, my antagonism towards would-be bullies was enough of a warning, and no one ever bothered me again. 當時的我很冷淡, 防禦心很重. 我在很多方面都很挑釁, 我希望有人找我麻煩, 這樣我就有理由報復之前受到的對待, 幸運的是, 我表現出來對抗霸凌的態度讓人不敢再來煩我了.

And this, unfortunately, included girls.  Chief among these girls was a girl named Emily in my English class.  I was SO in love with her, but that was SO never going to happen.  I agonized over ways to talk to her, and I sought out opportunities to be in her presence.  But it was never going to be.  I realize that now, too.  Looking back at it now, I realize that I still had a lot of growing up to do, and Emily - and girls like Emily - weren't going to wait for me to do it. 不幸的是這也包含女生在內. 我的英文課上有一個女孩Emily, 我當時非常地喜歡她, 我想方設法跟她講話也找機會出現在她面前, 只是都沒效果罷了. 我現在回想起來也了解了, 當時的我還有許多成長中需要做的事要做, 而Emily, 或像她這樣的女孩, 是不會為當時的我等待的.

But hey, there was a good side to all of it.  I wasn't bullied.  I was left alone to read my strange books, to listen to my strange music, and to obsess over my strange movies.  It was a year of H.P. Lovecraft and J.R.R. Tolkien, a year of Megadeth and Anthrax, and a year of From Beyond, Prince of Darkness, and Police Story. 但好的事還是有的, 我沒再被霸凌, 被冷落時我讀了許多奇怪的書: 一年的霍華德·菲利普斯·洛夫克拉夫J·R·R·托爾金. 聽奇怪的音樂: 一年的麥加帝斯炭疽樂團. 看了許多奇怪的電影: 一年的"靈異殺陣", "天魔回魂"和"警察故事". 


I spent most lunches in the library, talking to almost no one and reading my books.  I walked a mile back and forth to school every day, alone.  I did OK in my classes, but never tried very hard.  I had no plans for the future, nor any idea what I wanted to do with my life.  Instead of plans I had an intense devotion to books, music, movies, and the idea (only the idea) of sex.我大部分的午餐時間都在圖書館讀書, 也幾乎不跟任何人說話, 我每天一個人走一英哩的路上下學, 我的成績還好, 不是很用功, 對未來沒有什麼計畫,也不知道自己想做什麼. 但我對書本, 音樂, 電影和性有很強烈的熱情.

Of course when you're in high school it seems like everyone is having sex.  The football players, the girls smoking behind the gym, even the awkward guy who sometimes talks to you during lunch.  But in retrospect, it wasn't that way at all.  When I look at it now, very few of us were doing anything like that.  But then you probably know how it is.  You were probably once there yourself.在高中時, 覺得身邊的人好像都有過性行為了, 例如橄欖球員, 在體育場後面抽菸的女生, 甚至是有時候在午餐時交談的不怎麼受歡迎的人物. 但現在想起來卻不是那麼回事. 只有非常少數的人才是這樣, 但你大概可以知道那是什麼情形, 你應該也經歷過那些事.

High school.  Altogether a fairly miserable chapter of my life.  And on top of this there was going to the emergency room at Harborview, and seeing my friend's head swollen up to twice its normal size.  The .22 caliber bullet he'd shot himself with bounced around inside his skull, and even though he somehow survived it, he was a different guy after.高中生涯是我一段相當難熬的日子, 除此之外, 就是去醫院的急診室看我的朋友, 當時他的頭腫成正常的二倍大, 他用來自殺的那顆子彈在他的頭裡撞擊彈跳, 雖然如此, 他還是活下來了, 但他之後就不再是原來的他了.

Most American movies about high school make it seem more fun that it really is.  This is, at least, my experience.  In the movies it's a big, lighthearted adventure, and by the end of the film everyone's either lost their virginity or made a friend for life.  It wasn't that way for me, and in a way I'm glad it wasn't.  A lot of the stuff that happened in high school was fuel for things I did later, and I think that in the overall context of who I am now it made me a stronger person.  Maybe not always a happier person, but a stronger one regardless.  在美國電影裡, 讀高中看起來很好玩.  但我個人的經驗剛好相反.  電影裡的高中生都在冒險, 電影結尾不是終於做愛了, 就是找到生命中的至交.  這些都沒發生在我身上, 我也很高興沒有. 在高中時期發生的事都成為我之後的養分.  整體來說, 它讓我更堅強.  它不一定讓我成為比較快樂的人, 可是變堅強是一定的.

There's this, and also the fact that people whose "glory years" coincided with high school are among the most pathetic people I know.  Maybe high school isn't a time when you should be completely happy, and completely well-adjusted.  Maybe high school is a time when you're supposed to be pissed off, and waiting desperately for graduation.   我覺得認為高中是最美好時期的那種人很可憐.  我想高中不應該是人生最快樂的時候, 也不應該是最令人滿意的時候.  也許高中時期就是應該看什麼都不順眼, 也拼命地想著畢業吧!

1991?  Part of me would rather not remember that year.  But hey, it made me who I am today, right?  If it wasn't perfect, at least it was a year I learned from.  That, I suppose, is all that you can hope from any year, in any life, ever.  1991年?  我不是很想把那一年留在腦海裡.  可是那一年也讓我長大很多.  那一年不算美好, 可是那一年我學會很多生活能力.  這應該是人們希望的生命學習.


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