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乔布斯教我为人子、为人父的那些事

更新时间:2015-8-26 9:46:39 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What Steve Jobs Taught Me About Being a Son and a Father
乔布斯教我为人子、为人父的那些事

A couple of months ago, right after my first son was born, I thought about the lessons I wanted to pass along to him that I had learned a little late in life. Among the morals I scribbled down in my mind one that stood out began with a story involving Steve Jobs and ended with the serving of my mother’s last meal.

几个月前,我的第一个儿子出生时,我想着自己人生中各种迟迟才学到的经验教训,能够传授给他。在我铭记于心的种种道德准则中,最突出的一条始于一个同史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs)有关的故事,终结于我母亲的最后一餐。

The Jobs portion of the story occurred on a late-October morning in 2010, when he was sitting with a mutual friend in the restaurant of the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco. The waitress, a shy woman who looked to be in her mid-30s, according to the friend, approached them and asked what they wanted for breakfast. Mr. Jobs said he wanted freshly squeezed orange juice.

乔布斯的故事发生在2010年10月底的一个清晨,当时他和我们共同的一位朋友坐在旧金山四季酒店的餐厅里。侍者是个羞涩的女人,大约35岁左右,朋友说,她走过来问他们早餐要吃什么。乔布斯说想要鲜榨橙汁。

After a few minutes, the waitress returned with a large glass of juice. Mr. Jobs took a tiny sip and told her tersely that the drink was not freshly squeezed. He sent the beverage back, demanding another.

几分钟后,侍者拿来一大杯橙汁。乔布斯尝了一小口,就简短生硬地告诉她,这果汁不是鲜榨的。他退还了这杯饮料,要她换一杯。

A few minutes later, the waitress returned with another large glass of juice, this time freshly squeezed. When he took a sip he told her in an aggressive tone that the drink had pulp along the top. He sent that one back, too.

几分钟后,女侍者又拿来一大杯果汁,这一次是鲜榨的了。他又尝了一小口,用严厉的口吻告诉她,果汁里有果肉浮在最上面。他把这杯也退回去了。

My friend said he looked at Mr. Jobs and asked, “Steve, why are you being such a jerk?”

我的朋友说他看着乔布斯,问:“史蒂夫,你干嘛要这么混蛋。”

Mr. Jobs replied that if the woman had chosen waitressing as her vocation, “then she should be the best.”

乔布斯回答说,如果那个女人选择当侍者作为自己的职业,“那么她就应该做到最好。”

Hearing this story, I was immediately put off by how Mr. Jobs had acted; he was being — to borrow from his breakfast companion — a jerk. But looking past his rudeness (Maybe he was having a bad day?), I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind: No matter what you do for a living, should you do the best work possible?

听了这个故事,我一下子就对乔布斯的所作所为产生了反感; 用与之共进早餐的朋友的话来说,他确实是个混蛋。但是如果除去他的粗鲁(也许他那天正好心情不好?),我无法把这个念头赶出脑海:不管你靠什么谋生,难道不应该做到最好吗?

Of course, this question breaks down a bit when a job is just a job; it’s not your vocation. It can be especially disheartening when you don’t believe that what you’re doing for a living is appreciated or that it is having very little impact on other people’s lives.

当然,如果你的工作只是一份工作,而不是你的“职业”,这个问题就有点不成立了。当你不相信自己谋生的工作受人欣赏,或者对其他人的生活有那么一丁点影响,这会让人非常沮丧。

I get it. I was a waiter for many years. I was a line cook. I worked in the garment district in New York City carrying spools of fabric between warehouses. I worked in a salon washing women’s hair. And I worked for a birthday-party camp, dressing up in one of those giant furry character outfits (they stink inside) and doing magic tricks for kids who were not impressed by my card skills.

我明白这种感觉。我曾经当过好多年的侍者。我还当过流水线厨师。我曾经在纽约市的服装区工作,在一个个仓库之间运送大匹大匹的面料。我曾经在发廊里为女士们洗头。我还曾经在一个生日派对营工作,和其他人一起扮成巨大的毛绒玩具(那些衣服里面真的很臭),给孩子们变魔术,不过他们对我玩扑克的技巧不怎么欣赏。

And yet it wasn’t until my mother found out that she had terminal cancer in mid-March and was given a prognosis of only two weeks to live that I learned even if a job is just a job, you can still have a profound impact on someone else’s life. You just may not know it.

但是直到3月中,母亲被诊出癌症晚期,只有两个月生命的时候,我才明白,就算一份工作只是一份工作,你仍然可以对他人的生活产生深远的影响。你可能只是觉察不到而已。

My mother loved shrimp. She had no qualms about where her shrimp came from, if they were fresh or frozen, large or small. She would eat them in a grimy airport cafe or a five-star restaurant. And when she was done with her crustaceans, she always beamed a big smile and, in her posh British accent, said, “Oh, that was just lovely.”

母亲喜欢吃虾。不管虾来自哪里,不在乎它们是新鲜的还是冷冻的、大的还是小的。不管是在脏兮兮的机场餐厅抑或五星级饭店,她都要吃虾。饱餐之后,她总是露出灿烂的笑容,用漂亮的英音说,“不错不错。”

My mother was the one who taught me how to cook shrimp — and everything else. (When I was really young, I was allowed to lick the leftover chocolate cake icing out of the bowl when I helped in the kitchen.) So I jumped at the chance to become her personal chef for the last two weeks of her life.

正是母亲教会了我怎么做虾——还有各种其他菜肴(小时候,如果我在厨房打下手,她就允许我舔去碗里剩下的巧克力蛋糕糖衣)。所以在她人生的最后两星期里,我就抓住机会当上了她的私人大厨。

When she asked for some vegetables to nibble on, I fastidiously julienned a cucumber into thin slices, layering them atop one another in a semicircle on a florid porcelain plate.

她想要吃可以慢慢嚼的青菜,我便一丝不苟地把一根黄瓜切得薄薄的,一片片列成半圆形,用华丽的瓷盘盛着。

When she asked for a pita and hummus, I cut the bread into perfect little triangles, found elegant small bowls in her cupboards, and carefully quenelled three dipping options, as if Thomas Keller were watching over my shoulder.

她要吃皮塔饼和鹰嘴豆泥,我就把面包切成完美的三角形,从她的柜橱找出精致的小碗,小心翼翼盛上三种蘸酱,就像托马斯·凯勒(Thomas Keller,美国名厨——译注)在身边监视。

I proudly took every meal to her on her finest china, placed carefully on an ornate tray and finished off with a single English flower. I prepared every menu with meticulous detail, unsure if the meal I was taking to her bedside would be her last.

我满心自豪地用她最好的瓷器盛放每一餐,用装饰华丽的托盘精心盛放,还要在旁边点缀一种英国花卉。每道菜我都一丝不苟地注重细节,因为不知道我为她准备的哪顿饭会成为她的最后一餐。

As the days went by, her appetite started to wane, as did her mind. The meals she asked for grew smaller and smaller. There were fewer slices of cucumber and one less dipping sauce. Then she stopped eating altogether, barely able to finish a cup of white tea.

随着时间过去,她的饭量愈来愈小,神志也开始变得不清醒。她要的菜愈来愈少。盘子里的黄瓜片和蘸酱只有一点。最后她完全无法进食,连一杯白茶也喝不完。

We all knew the end was near.

我们都明白她大限将至。

Then one evening my mother became incredibly lucid and called for me. She was craving shrimp, she said. “I’m on it,” I told her as I ran down to the kitchen. “Shrimp coming right up!”

一天晚上,母亲突然异常清醒,把我叫到身边,说她想吃虾。“我去弄,”我边说边跑进厨房。“虾马上就来!”

The problem was, I didn’t have any. So I did what anyone in that situation would do: I called for takeout. From my mother’s house in Leeds, England, the closest place was Sukhothai, a tiny nondescript Thai restaurant a few miles away. My sister ordered, and we headed over in the car as quickly as we could.

问题是,我根本就没有虾。所以我做了任何人在这种情况下都会做的事:打电话叫外卖。母亲的家在英格兰利兹,附近最近的餐馆是几英里外一家名不见经传的小小泰餐馆,名叫素可泰(Sukhothai)。我的姊妹打电话点了单,我们飞快地冲进车子。

The restaurant was bustling. In the open kitchen in the back I could see a dozen men and women frantically slaving over the hot stoves and dishwashers, with busboys and waiters rushing in and out.

那家餐馆里乱哄哄的。我看见后面的敞开式厨房里有十几个男男女女在炉灶和洗碗机边热火朝天地卖命苦干,小工和侍者们不停进进出出。

While I stood waiting for my mother’s shrimp, I watched all these people toiling away and I thought about what Mr. Jobs had said about the waitress from a few years earlier. Though his rudeness may have been uncalled-for, there was something to be said for the idea that we should do our best at whatever job we take on.

我站在那儿,等着给母亲的虾,看着这些人忙忙碌碌,突然想起几年前乔布斯说过的关于侍者的那番话。尽管他的粗鲁完全没有必要,但“不管做什么工作都应当做到最好”这个理念确实有一定道理。

This should be the case, not because someone else expects it. Rather, as I want to teach my son, we should do it because our jobs, no matter how seemingly small, can have a profound effect on someone else’s life; we just don’t often get to see how we’re touching them.

事情理应如此,并不是因为别人的期待。我想告诉儿子的是:这是因为我们的工作不管看上去多么渺小,都可能会对他人的生活产生深远的影响;我们只是无法经常亲眼目睹我们是以什么样的方式触动他们。

Certainly, the men and women who worked at that little Thai restaurant in northern England didn’t know that when they went into work that evening, they would have the privilege of cooking someone’s last meal.

是的,这些在英国北部的小小泰餐馆里工作的男女们不知道,他们如常工作的这个晚上,将会有幸为某人烹制一生中的最后一餐。

It was a meal that I would unwrap from the takeout packaging in my mother’s kitchen, carefully plucking four shrimp from the box and meticulously laying them out on one of her ornate china plates before taking it to her room. It was a meal that would end with my mother smiling for the last time before slipping away from consciousness and, in her posh British accent, saying, “Oh, that was just lovely.”

就是这一餐:我在母亲的厨房里打开外卖包装,小心翼翼地从盒子里拿出四只大虾,悉心放在一只精美的瓷盘里,拿进她的房间。就是这一餐,母亲吃完,最后一次露出笑容,用她那漂亮的英音说,“不错不错”,然后慢慢陷入了长眠。

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