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一个美国女孩眼中的中国乞丐

来源:新浪外语 更新日期:2007-09-13 点击:

Julia是美国纽约大学人类与社会思想专业的硕士毕业生。大学时得过诗歌奖和非小说类创作奖。她从美国东部的缅因州来,先在江苏常州,而后到南京,而后溯江流而上,到了四川成都。她一边学中文,一边教英文,同时写作。她的笔触细腻,描画生活中见到的各色人物,包括乞丐、车夫、卖早点、夜宵的人。人在异国的时候,因为环境不熟,工作不忙,会比较敏感,容易留心,并且往往遇到麻烦不知道躲,经历反而会丰富复杂些...


Er  Hu  (二胡)

After finishing my undergraduate degree I decided to take some time off before heading into a graduate program. I had been to China before, for a four month term abroad, and when my friend Alec mentioned that he too was moving back to Nanjing for a year I knew it would be a great idea for me to do the same. So, I moved back to Nanjing and became a full-time Chinese language student at Nanjing Normal University. However, this time instead of living the life of a dormitory student inside the beautiful, though restricted campus, I decided to get an apartment with friends just down the street.

Our apartment was only a few minutes walk from the University gates in the bustling neighborhood that is tucked there in between both Nashida and Nada universities. It didn't take long for me to get into the busy swing of life that occupied the corner of Hankouxi Lu and Ninghai Lu. And it didn't take long either for me to meet and experience the people who worked and lived there.

Almost every afternoon when I would stroll out through the Nanshida gates the erhu man would be playing just between the entrance to the University and that to MacDonald's. He would sit in a tiny, wooden chair, barely large enough to hold even his slight frame. In front of him was a small, blue and white tin bowl, one reminiscent of both camping and cantines.

As he played he would listen not only to the sound of his own strings, but also for the clink of coins into his tin bowl. The sidewalk his chosen junction was a busy one, and though I don't recall a crowd ever gathering to listen to him play (probably precisely because of the crowded hustle and bustle of this area), many of us passersby did drop coins into the elderly man's bowl.

When the metals clanged together, kuai and tin, he heard only consonance. He would cease pulling his bow across the erhu's strings and jump lithely up out of his chair. Holding the bow in his right hand and the erhu in his left, he would reach for your hand quickly and grasp it between them. Many times I felt both the flesh of his palm and the tight strings of the erhu pressed into the skin of my own hand.

Sometimes after passing by I would cross the street to enjoy a suanniunai at the local beer/cigarette/soda/cracker/phonecard/telephone/icecream kiosk. I would stand drinking the sweet and sour yoghurt from the tiny glass milk jug, because I knew that when I was finished, I could return the bottle to the crate so that it could later be taken and boiled and then refilled for the next day. As I drank I could listen to the soft music of the erhu as it drifted in and out of the sounds of bicycle bells, honking car horns and revving bus engines.

It has always been considerably more difficult for me to guess the relative ages of Chinese people, but if I were to hazard one about the erhu man I would say he must be in his late 70s; just a bit older than my own father. Unlike the large, imposing and stiff figure that my father cuts, the erhu man was slim and lissome and almost spritely with his agile jumps from his small chair.

While he played his face was solemn; his bluish, milky eyes closed and his lips parted slightly in concentration. But when he would spring from his chair to express his thanks to a patron, his tanned, well-worn face would erupt into hundreds of wrinkles. His eyes would always hide themselves during one of his wide smiles.

Even now, when I go back to my old Hankouxi Lu neighborhood for a visit I always encounter this man, again and again. He prefers to play his erhu further along the wide street on the opposite side and underneath the shady cover of some large, old trees. Here there is less foot-traffic, and the sound of his erhu is stronger and clearer as it floats on Nanjing's humid breezes.

拉二胡的老人

结束大学的学习之后,我决定歇一阵再去上研究生。我曾经来过中国,待了四个月。因此我的朋友亚历克提起他也准备回南京再待一年的时候,我知道,如果我也回中国,这将会是一个不错的主意。就这样,我搬回到南京,专职在南京师范大学学习中文。不过,这一次我决定不住在环境优美然而生活受到限制的校园宿舍里,而是和朋友在附近租房子。

我们的住处就在夹在南师大和南大之间的繁忙地段,距离学校大门口走路只有几分钟的距离。我迅速融入了汉口西路和宁海路拐角那里熙熙攘攘的生活。而没过多久,我与工作和生活在那里的人们就有了交会。

几乎每个下午,当我信步走出南师大的校门,那个人都会在学校大门口和麦当劳之间的地方,拉他的胡琴。他坐在一把窄小的木头椅子上,椅子的大小刚刚足以容纳他那瘦瘦的身躯。他的面前有一只让人觉着又像野营用的、又像酒馆里的蓝白色的小锡铁皮碗。

他拉琴时,不仅是在侧耳倾听自己的琴声,也在等待丢到锡碗里丁当作响的钱币。他所在的路口属于一个繁华的路段,虽然在我的记忆里不曾有很多人聚过来听他拉琴(这或许正是由于这个地方熙攘忙碌),但确实有许多像我一样的路人会把硬币丢在老人的碗里。

硬币丢在锡碗里叮当作响,而他听到的只有金属碰撞的韵律。他会停下手中的弓子,从椅子上一跃而起,右手端着锡碗,左手拿着二胡,迅速向你伸出手来,用
双手握住你的手。很多次,我感觉得到他的手心和二胡拉得紧紧的弦子按在我自己的手上。

有时候,走过这条路,我会穿过马路,在那儿的一个啤酒、香烟、汽水、饼干、电话卡、冰淇淋什么都卖的亭子里,享受一瓶酸牛奶。我会站在那里把小小的玻璃牛奶罐里又甜又酸的酸牛奶喝完,因为我知道喝完以后,将瓶子放回箱里,有人会把瓶子拿走,煮沸,消毒,第二天又会装满酸奶。我总是一边喝着,一边听着二胡微弱的琴声在自行车铃、汽车喇叭,和公共汽车发动机的轰鸣声中一会儿响起,一会儿又沉寂下去。

对我来说,相对而言猜测中国人的年龄总是难得多,不过要让我斗胆猜一猜,拉二胡的老人一定有将近八十岁了。他比我的父亲岁数只大一点儿。我的父亲身材魁梧、仪态威严而生硬,而拉二胡的老人一点也不像他。瘦小、敏捷,从窄小的椅子上一跃而起的时候灵活得像一阵风一样。

他拉琴时表情庄重,神色专注,闭着发蓝的、浑浊的眼睛,微微张着嘴唇。然而每当他从椅子上跳起来对主顾表示谢意时,他那晒得黝黑的饱经沧桑的脸庞上都会突然出现无数皱纹。他满面笑容,总是笑得几乎连眼睛都看不见了。

即便是现在,每当我回到汉口西路原先住的地方去时,一次又一次,总还是能遇见这个老人。他更喜欢在宽阔的马路对面远一些的地方,高大的老树树荫下拉他的二胡。这里的人流少些,二胡的琴声也显得更嘹亮,更清晰,飘在南京湿润的微风里。

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