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在猫头鹰餐厅感受一个真实的美国

更新时间:2017-7-5 19:16:35 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Going to Hooters and Seeing America
在猫头鹰餐厅感受一个真实的美国

It sounds like the beginning of an uncomfortable joke: Four brown kids of Pakistani descent — from Karachi, Dubai, London and Augusta, Ga. — walk into a Hooters on a recent Saturday afternoon.

这听起来像是一个让人不太舒服的笑话的开头:在最近一个周六的下午,四个有巴基斯坦血统的棕色皮肤的孩子——分别来自卡拉奇、迪拜、伦敦和佐治亚州的奥古斯塔——走进了一家猫头鹰餐厅(Hooters)。

They order cheese fries, mozzarella sticks and a plate of fried pickles that will later give the Londoner (me) a wild bout of indigestion. Waitresses in the company’s trademark orange shorts flit about, taking orders and smiling at families with children. Burly men in baseball caps clink pints of gold libation. Football plays on one flat screen TV, but is muted for the golf tournament that plays on another.

他们点了芝士薯条、芝士条和一盘酥炸酸黄瓜,后者让那个来自伦敦的小孩(也就是我)严重消化不良。女服务员身着这家公司标志性的橘色短裤走来走去,给顾客点菜,对着带孩子来的家庭微笑。戴着棒球帽、身材结实的男人们端着大杯啤酒碰杯畅饮。一台平板电视上正在播放足球比赛,不过声音却留给了另一台电视上播放的高尔夫锦标赛。

In truth, this expedition wasn’t a joke, but more of a fascinating ethnographic adventure. My friends and I didn’t plan on eating at Hooters initially. We go to Princeton, where two of us are international students, and that Saturday, we craved the spicy curries and fluffy flatbreads of our pre-college lives. A new biryani joint had opened up at a strip mall not far from campus, so we took an Uber over to check it out.

事实上,这并不是个笑话,而是一次激动人心的民族志探险。一开始,我和朋友们没打算去猫头鹰餐厅吃东西。我们在普林斯顿(Princeton)读书,其中有两人是那里的留学生。那个周六,我们特别想吃上大学之前经常会吃的辣咖喱和酥松薄饼。离校园不远的商业街上新开了一家印度餐馆,所以我们叫了一辆Uber准备去尝一尝。

Across the parking lot, we spotted a branch of the famous restaurant chain, complete with a Hooters owl and a sign in the window that read: “Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.”

在停车场的对面,我们看到了一个知名餐饮连锁品牌的店面,上面有猫头鹰标志,窗户上还写着这样的标语:“不经加工的、令人愉悦的俗气。”

“Let’s just go in for appetizers,” one friend suggested, lingering by the entrance as she looked longingly at a hamburger through the glass. “We have to eat here at least once before we graduate. It’s so American.”

“我们就进去吃点开胃菜吧,”一位朋友提议道,她在门口徘徊着,透过窗玻璃用渴望的眼神看着里面的汉堡。“在毕业之前,我们至少得在这儿吃一次。它太美国了。”

As children, we were reared on American TV: chick-flicks, Disney and coming-of-age dramas from the early 2000s. We knew all about Fourth of July barbecues and fireworks set off in red, white and blue. We wanted to see this world — the America of a country song.

我们从小是看美国电视长大的:小鸡电影、迪士尼动画,以及2000年代初的成人题材的剧集。我们知道美国独立纪念日的所有庆祝活动,比如烤肉和放红、白、蓝色的烟花。我们想亲眼看看这个世界——一首乡村歌曲里的美国。

Our afternoon at Hooters was, therefore, strangely rewarding. We marveled at the awkward dates, flannel shirts, frosty beer steins and greasy mozzarella sticks. John Denver played over the speakers. The atmosphere was flirtatious but also, paradoxically, mundane. This was quintessential America, we thought, straight out of the movies — a star-spangled feast for the senses. And we had found it mere miles away from our ivy-covered campus.

因此,在猫头鹰餐厅度过的那个下午出奇值得。我们惊叹于那里令人尴尬的约会、法兰绒衬衫、结霜的啤酒杯和油腻的芝士条。喇叭里一遍遍播放着约翰·丹佛的歌。那气氛既轻佻又颇为矛盾地日常。我们想,这是典型的美国,跟电影里一模一样——对感官而言,是一场华丽的盛宴。而且我们发现它距离我们那座被常青藤覆盖的校园不过几英里远。

At Princeton, international students attend a separate orientation on acclimating to life in the United States. We were given logistical information and taught some cultural know-how, but the thing that stuck out most to me was a flowchart graphic that depicted the lulls and peaks of how we might experience the novelty of this country.

在普林斯顿大学,外国留学生要参加有关适应美国生活的入学讲座。这种课会提供有关日常生活的信息,也会教一些文化知识,但其中让我们印象最深的是一副流程图,上面描绘了我们体验这个国家新奇之处时可能会经历的低谷和高峰。

Those who are freshly arrived experience the highs of an initial honeymoon period, when everything from the Dunkin’ Donuts in the dining hall to clothes dryers (not as common where I grew up) are inspiring and exciting. Then there are the lows of homesickness, when international students inevitably long for familiarity — and, in my case, samosas.

刚来的学生最初会经历一段如蜜月期般的时光,那时一切都是鼓舞人心和令人兴奋的,不管是餐厅供应的唐恩甜甜圈,还是烘干机(在我长大的地方并不常见),都是如此。之后会进入思乡的低潮期,那时留学生不可避免地会渴望令他们感到熟悉的东西——在我这里,那东西就是咖喱角。

Adapting to life at Princeton was generally smooth for me. Aside from the standoffish immigration officers that stamp my passport with raised eyebrows, and East Coast winters that still do not agree with me, I am in a state of relative bliss in the United States, tucked between leather-bound stacks at the library, immersed in the luxury of reading and thinking. Of course, it’s not like I live on an island divorced from reality. In today’s political climate, my international friends and I are all constantly confronted by the harshness of the news cycle. As a young Muslim, as a non-American, I know that the comforts of a college campus like mine cannot be underestimated.

对我而言,适应普林斯顿大学生活的过程基本是顺畅的。除了傲慢的移民官在给我的护照盖章时曾抬了抬眉毛,以及东海岸的冬天依然让人不太适应之外,我在美国处于一种相对而言比较幸福的状态,要么在满是精装皮面书籍的图书馆里待着,要么沉浸在阅读和思考中。当然,并不是说我就生活在一个与现实隔绝的岛上。在如今的政治气候下,我的留学生朋友和我都要不断面临新闻消息的严厉考验。作为一名年轻的穆斯林和非美国人,我知道像普林斯顿这样的大学校园所能提供的舒适是不容低估的。

These are strange times we live in, but mostly, you wouldn’t really know it from inside the academic bubble, and fortunately so. I love my campus — its pretty pathways lined with orange leaves in the fall, its creaky chairs and Gothic windows in the lecture rooms, its embrace of everything intellectual and of diversity. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see the America of loud Fourth of July parties, a country that, like Hooters, is both crass and, oddly, family-friendly.

我们所处的是一个奇怪的时代,但是在象牙塔里你通常并不能真的意识到这一点,也幸亏如此。我爱我的校园——秋天落满橘黄叶子的美丽小径,教室里咯吱作响的椅子和哥特风格的窗户,还有它对所有智识与多样性的欣然接受。但那不意味着我不想看到喧闹的美国独立日庆祝派对中的美国,一个像猫头鹰餐厅一样既卑俗又怪异地十分适宜于家庭的国家。

Now when I want to get away from Locke or Voltaire, I know where to go. That afternoon at Hooters, slightly nauseated from the deep-fried pickles, I had one thought running through my mind: Here I am, finally. America.

现在,当我想暂时放下洛克和伏尔泰时,我知道该往哪儿去。在猫头鹰餐厅的那个下午,我因为吃了油炸酸黄瓜而有点恶心,但有一个念头曾经划过我的脑海:我终于到了美国。

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