英语学习杂志 2015-06-11 15:57





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By Robert Klose

丁玎 选 毅白 注

The rumor proved all too bitterly true: Park’s Hardware, a downtown institution of Orono, Maine, since 1898, would be closing.

Word spread quickly. Locals cajoled, cross-examined, and pleaded with Lin, the owner of the store, to no avail. Running a small, local, family-owned hardware business was no longer a profit maker. The town’s affection for Park’s Hardware was just not enough to allow it to prevail against the giant warehouse stores that loomed, discount-laden, down the road in Bangor.

I was one member of the milling masses that began to filter through Park’s as, day by day, the wax lettering on the front window changed from “20% OFF EVERYTHING” to “30%,” “40%,” and on and on, like the death of a thousand cuts until the only things left were the light sockets and doorknobs.

It’s a difficult thing to see a hardware store go. A hardware store is special because it sells the things that allow us to indulge our tinkering habits, can-do-it-ness, and creativity, and in the process improve our immediate surroundings to suit our tastes. There are few things more satisfying than a new coat of paint on a weary wall, or a new lock set requiring only the knowledge of how to spin a screwdriver. From such a small investment of cash and time, a hardware store affords one a wholesale return of satisfaction.

The cynic might argue that one can accomplish the same end by shopping at the big-box warehouses whose footprints are measured not in square feet, but acres. Well, maybe sometimes, but certainly not always. And the likelihood of feeling forsaken in such a wasteland is high.

I recall the time I was rummaging in one of the aisles of a Bangor hardware fortress for a wireless door chime that Park’s didn’t carry. I found the thing, but didn’t understand the following gloss on the package: “Red light indicates condition of battery.” I spotted a clerk in a brightly colored apron.

“Excuse me,” I said, holding the item out, “I can’t seem to find the red light.” The man took the package, examined it, and, plopping it back in my hand, said, “Neither can I,” before he walked away. I contrast this experience with one I routinely had at Park’s, in which I would walk into the store holding a pile of arcane-looking metal and plastic pieces in my cupped hands.

“Lin,” I’d plead as I held out the offering before him, “can you ... please ... I don’t know ... do you think...?” And quicker than one could say, “little red light,” Lin would spring into action and together we’d voyage off into one of the eclectic recesses of the store to mix and match and measure until the solution precipitated before my eyes like a genie emerging from a lamp.

Was it more expensive to shop at Park’s as opposed to a warehouse? In one way, yes —if I intended to buy a big-ticket item like a snowblower or chain saw. But otherwise, no: I could buy a single screw at Park’s, and have it lovingly deposited in a little bag, for a nickel—no charge for the accompanying pleasant conversation.

At a warehouse I had no choice but to buy a box of a hundred screws, and, if I were fortunate, receive at the cash register the stock admonition: “Have a nice day.”

But I don’t want to be directed to have a nice day. Nor do I want a box of a hundred screws when all I need is one, nor told to wait because an “associate” would be with me shortly. I just want to know the location of the little red light, and now that Park’s is gone, I realize that I never will.


1. bitterly: 苦涩地,悲痛地;downtown: 闹市区的,商业区的。

2. cajole: 用甜言蜜语哄骗;cross-examine: 盘问;plead with: 向……恳求;to no avail: 毫无效果,徒劳。

3. 沿着这条路走不远就能抵达班戈市的大型仓储式杂货店,它们阴森森地耸立在那儿,常常有打折活动,即使是小镇居民们对帕克五金店的喜爱之情也无法抵御这些强大的对手。affection: 喜爱,感情;prevail against: 战胜,击败;loom: (不祥之物)阴森森地逼近,耸现;discount-laden: 常常有打折活动的。

4. 一天一天地,帕克五金店橱窗上的蜡印字从一开始的“全场八折”变成“七折”、“六折”……很多人都到店里去淘尾货,我也是其中的一员。就这样,店里的货物如惨遭凌迟处死般地一点一点减少,直至有一天,只剩下了电灯插座和门把手。milling: 成群乱转的;filter through: 过滤,筛选;wax: 蜡制的;light socket: 电灯插座;doorknob: 门把手。

5. indulge: 纵容,放任;tinkering: (不熟练地、拙劣地)修补,摆弄,此处用于形容喜欢自己在家里修补和摆弄器械、设备等东西的人;can-do-it-ness: 自己动手制作的能力。

6. coat of paint: 漆皮,一层漆;weary: 令人厌倦的,使人厌烦的;lock set: (五金)成套门锁;spin: 使旋转;screwdriver: 螺丝刀。

7. investment: (时间、精力等的)投入;wholesale: 大规模的。

8. cynic: 好挖苦的人,好嘲笑的人;end: 目的,目标;square feet: 平方英尺,1平方英尺大约等于929平方厘米;acre: 英亩,1英亩大约等于6亩或4047平方米。

9. likelihood: 可能性;forsaken: 被抛弃的,孤独凄凉的;wasteland: (精神或文化上的)荒原。

10. rummage: 翻找,搜寻;aisle: (商店、仓库、洞穴、两排树间的)狭长通道,过道;fortress: 城堡,堡垒,此处用于形容大型仓储式商店的巨大空间;wireless door chime: 无线门铃。

11. gloss: 注释,说明。

12. spot: 发现,看到;clerk: 售货员,店员;apron: 围裙。

13. plop: 把……扑通一下扔进。

14. routinely: 通常地,常常地;arcane-looking: 看起来很神秘的,看起来很难懂的;cupped: (双手合在一起)像杯形的。

15. 林不假思索,张嘴就说出了“小红灯”,并会马上行动起来,带着我一头扎进店后头摆放着各种各样零件的货架之间,一阵混搭、匹配、测量,直到解决办法浮现在我眼前,正如精灵突然从油灯里蹦出来似的。spring into action: 马上行动起来;eclectic: 从不同来源选择的;recess: 隐蔽处,幽深处;precipitate: 成形,显形;genie: (阿拉伯故事中,尤指瓶子或灯里的)精灵。

16. big-ticket: 高价的,昂贵的;snowblower: 吹雪机,除雪机;chain saw: 链锯。

17. deposit: (尤指小心地)放置,搁下;nickel: (美国)五美分硬币;no charge: 免费。

18. cash register: 收银台;stock: 陈腐的,老一套的;admonition: 劝告,警告。

19. associate: (比较资深的)店员,此处作者嘲讽这么一点儿小事也需要资深人士到场才能解决;shortly: 不久,不一会儿。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:丹妮)



















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