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修理管道教给我的事

  Life is a process of accepting chaos and learning to clean up.

  “生活就是一个接受混乱并且学会清理的过程。”

  -Kelley Schlise

  ——凯莉·施利斯(Kelley Schlise)

  Few 17-year-old girls know how to weld two copper pipes together or ignite the long flame of a water heater. I dare say that most people can't distinguish between 90 degree ordinary PVC elbows and 90 degree male and female elbows.

  没有几个17岁的女孩知道怎么把两根铜管焊在一起,或者点燃热水器的长明火。我敢说,大多数人分不清90度普通PVC弯头和90度公母弯头。

  These skills and characteristics were learned in the past five years as an assistant for my father ’s personal plumbing business. This summer job often needs to deal with the mess that causes physical and mental discomfort, and requires a tough and elegant attitude. It is often difficult to cope. But I insisted. I'm the plumber's daughter and a plumber's helper.

  这些技能和特点都是过去五年里我为父亲的个人管道业务担任助理时学到的,这份暑期工经常需要处理给身体和精神带来不适的烂摊子,而且需要坚韧和优雅的态度,我往往很难应付得来。不过我坚持下来了。我是管道工的女儿,也是管道工的帮手。

  Every wet morning, I have to barely put on a pair of men's jeans bought from Goodwill charity second-hand store. Most of my peers are unwilling to wear it in public. I hung a tape measure on my belt, hurriedly tied my hair into a braid when I ran out of the house, and climbed into the front passenger seat of the plumber's construction vehicle. This is a small white van with years, with two pipes tied to the roof.

  每个潮湿的早晨,我都要勉强穿上一条Goodwill慈善二手店里买来的男式牛仔裤,大多数同龄人都不愿意在公共场合穿成这样。我把卷尺挂在腰带上,跑出家门时匆匆把头发束成辫子,爬上管道工施工车的副驾驶座。这是一辆有年头的白色小面包车,车顶绑着两种管子。

  When my peers were part-time babysitters, lifeguards, or taking inventory of groceries, I helped my father to drag heavy toolboxes and heavy saws deep into people's houses. Although sometimes working in the gilded master bathroom of the lakeview mansion, we tend to be in the damp and moldy basement, and I have to find the water meter between the labyrinth-like storage boxes.

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

  我的同龄人当兼职保姆、救生员或者清点杂货的时候,我帮着爸爸把笨重的工具箱和重型锯子拖到人们房子的深处。虽然有时也在湖景豪宅的镀金主浴室里干活,但我们往往还是在潮湿发霉的地下室里,我得在迷宫般的储物箱之间找水表。

  Five summers in Milwaukee repairing pipes made me understand that the messy part of the house reflects the messy part of people's lives. Dad and I often make a mess. He cut the wall with a heavy reciprocating saw, and the air was filled with stucco clouds. Sometimes there are no walls at all, and we have to work in the pristine jungle of fiberglass insulation, floor joists and rusted cast iron risers.

  在密尔沃基修理管道的五个夏天让我明白,房子里凌乱的部分反映出人们生活中凌乱的部分。爸爸和我也经常弄得一团糟。他用重型往复锯切割墙壁,空气里弥漫着灰泥的云雾。有时根本没有墙,我们得在玻璃纤维隔热层、楼板搁栅和生锈的铸铁立管的原始丛林中工作。

  I jumped over a bunch of cluttered wrenches and extension cords over and over again; thick dust covered my nose and mouth; plumbing paint on my jeans, and my hands became dark because of a hard day's work of. I looked at the chaos around me, and chaos was rising inside me. There is nothing beautiful and neat; everything in front of you is ugly. I felt powerless, discouraged and unable to think hard.

  我一次又一次地跳过一堆堆杂乱的扳手和延长线;鼻子和嘴上蒙着厚厚的灰尘;牛仔裤上沾满管道涂料,双手也因为一整天的辛苦工作而变得黑乎乎的。我打量着周围的混乱情景,混乱也在我内心升起。什么美丽整齐的东西也没有;眼前的一切都很丑陋。我感到无能为力、灰心丧气、没法好好思考。

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

  Pipe work is a microcosm of the chaotic world, and sometimes I hate it. I asked myself, I could have stayed in an air-conditioned room, cleaned the bedroom with a vacuum cleaner, made avocado toast for breakfast, and finished my summer vacation work early, why did I have to run out and endure these dust and sweat. I can even find another job, a regular job more like my peers.

  管道工作是混乱世界的缩影,有时我讨厌它。我问自己,我本可以待在有空调的屋子里,用吸尘器打扫卧室,做牛油果吐司当早餐,早早完成暑假作业,为什么却要跑出来忍受这些灰尘与汗水。我甚至还可以找到另一份工作,一份更像我的同龄人做的那些普通工作。

  However, just like I hate messy pipes, I also hate being affected by these little disturbing emotions, hating myself so easily annoyed by chaos. After all, the world is built by people who are willing to get their hands dirty.

  然而,就像我讨厌脏乱的管道,我也讨厌自己会受到这些小小不安情绪的影响,讨厌自己这么容易就被混乱惹恼。毕竟,世界是由那些愿意把手弄脏的人建造的。

  When I think about it, I also deal with chaos all the time. As a teenager, the uncertainty and contradictions in my head are more complicated than any extension line, but I have been trying to sort them out. Life is a process of accepting chaos and learning to clean up, and pipeline work is no exception.

  当我思考这个问题的时候,我也一直都在处理混乱。作为青少年,我头脑里的不确定性和矛盾比任何延长线都要复杂得多,但我一直在试图理清它们。生活是一个接受混乱并且学会清理的过程,管道工作也不例外。

  My dad and I not only create chaos, we also create order. As long as we observe carefully, I can find order in each newly welded copper tube array, and find order in the neatly arranged toolbox on the back seat of Dad's van. In addition, when customers are grateful for our work, I understand that we have brought order to their lives in small places. The physical and mental discomfort of plumbing work is worth it.

  我和爸爸不仅制造混乱,我们也创造秩序,只要细细观察,我可以在每个新焊好的铜管阵列中找到秩序,在爸爸货车后座上排列整齐的工具箱里找到秩序。此外,当客户对我们的工作表示感谢时,我明白,我们在一些小处给他们的生活带来了秩序。管道工作给身体和精神带来的不适都是值得的。

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