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英国生活指南:第三章

英国人民——他们的习惯与风俗

英国生活指南:第三章

翻译:青云子  校对:番薯啊同腰果齐欢唱

在英国,想最大程度地跟旁人打成一片,大体上照着美国的路数来就行了。美国人都欢迎礼貌、正派、友好的人,英国人也是一样。英国人见过相当多的美国人,对美国人有好感。他们会喜欢上你的坦诚,只要你是出于好意。他们认为你也会是个慷慨的人。他们不习惯勾肩搭背,而且羞于表露喜爱之情。不过一旦对你有了好感,他们会是世上最好的朋友。

要做到“和睦相处”,首先要记住英国人和美国人虽然在很多方面都很像,但不是什么都像。你很快就会发现,英国人的一些做法看来令人费解,甚至是“错误”的。比如,开车靠左行驶,使用的货币基于一个“不可思议”的会计制度,还有喝温啤酒。不过一旦你习惯了这些东西,你就知道,它们属于英国,就像棒球、爵士乐和可口可乐属于美国一样。

英国人喜欢运动。各个社会阶层的英国人都对体育充满热情,他们有的是业余爱好者,有的是专业运动会的观众。英国人钟情于射击,爱打比赛,也骑马、赌马和钓鱼。(但是要注意选择你打猎或钓鱼的地方。钓鱼和打猎权常常为私人所有。)

大规模的“观众型”比赛有秋冬季的足球和春夏季的板球。只要有机会,就挑任意一场“match”(比赛)看看吧。你会发现其中的乐趣的——如果只是为了找出和美国运动的不同。

和美国棒球相比,板球之慢会使你印象深刻,但玩起来却没那么轻松。相比于一场持续三天的大型专业赛事,你可能会觉得和我们的沙地棒球相当的“乡村板球”有趣得多。 大型专业比赛常常只是板球投球手(相当于我们的棒球投球手)和板球击球手(相当于棒球击球手)之间的私人比赛。你还要懂得比赛的细微之处,才能跟上比赛节奏。

在英国,足球有两种形式。有“soccer”(英式足球),在美国广为人知;也有“rugger”(英式橄榄球),一种更激烈的比赛,跟美式足球更接近,但是比赛的时候不像我们一样戴护具、头盔。英式橄榄球一队有15人,用的球稍大于美式橄榄球。允许横传,但不许向前传球。英国人尽管带球的手上功夫不如我们,但脚法比我们专业得多。和其他英国比赛一样,英式橄榄球不允许用替补。如果一个队员受伤了,他那一队必须靠着14个人继续比赛,以此类推。

你会发现看足球比赛或板球比赛的英国观众比美国观众更有秩序,对参赛队员也更有礼貌。如果在一场板球比赛中,一个外野手没有接住球,英国观众很可能会表示同情。他们会叫道:“接得不错”,即使那对你而言就像一个笨拙的漏球。在美国,观众很可能会大喊:“拉他出去!”记住这种反差。这意味着你必须小心,观看英国比赛遇到高潮时,不能乱喊。你的话美国人都有共鸣,但英国人可能觉得很侮辱人。

总的来说,在英国,玩运动比赛的人比美国的多,而且英国人就算不在行也乐于参赛。你常常能遇到技巧不比你高却还是乐意和你比赛的人。他们是很棒的运动员,而且不管在哪儿,要是遇到有很好的体育精神的人,他们很快就会看出来。

室内娱乐。和我们一样,英国人有剧院和电影院(movies)——他们称之为“cinemas”。但消遣的顶好去处是“pub”(酒吧)。“pub”或者说“public house”,就是我们所说的“bar” 或“tavern”。啤酒是常见的饮料,英国人喝的不是我们的仿德国啤酒,而是浓啤酒(但是他们通常称之“beer”啤酒,或者“bitter”苦啤酒)。现在没多少人喝威士忌了。战时税使得一瓶威士忌的价格飙升到4.5美元左右。不过英国人爱喝啤酒,也喝得起。现在的啤酒虽不及和平时期的浓烈,还是能把人喝得胡言乱语。

你只要记住一件事,在英国酒吧里就能受到欢迎。英国酒吧是“穷人俱乐部”,是街坊村民的常来聚一聚的地方,男人们到那儿去见他们的朋友,而不是陌生人。如果你想加入飞镖游戏,要等当地人来邀请你(通常会有人邀请你的)。如果你输了,根据习俗你要让位给别人玩。

英国人很重视周日。所有的商店都会关门,大部分餐馆也会关门。在小城镇里没什么可做的。你最好学学英国人,在乡下度过周日的午后吧。

英国的教堂,尤其是小村子的教堂,通常从里到外都很漂亮。绝大部分教堂总是开放的,如果你想进去,不必犹豫。但是如果正在举行某个仪式,就不要随意走动。

至于你的英国同行,那些你听说过、在书上看过的“Tommy”(指英国士兵),你自然会有兴趣了解他们。你应该很明白,如果你做出以下这两种行为,你们的友谊发展就会慢下来:抢他女朋友,还有对于英国军队所经受的艰难险阻无动于衷。没错,还有不识相,非要提你工资比他们高。

全世界的小孩都很好相处。英国小孩和我们的小孩很像。英国人勉力保全的食物,大部分是为了给孩子。对于英国孩子而言,你,一个美国人将会是“特殊人物”。因为他们在学校填饱肚子,而所吃的食物却是Uncle Sam(山姆大叔,指美国)送来的,这件事他们都深深记在脑海里。你不用告诉英国人食品援助的事情,他们都知道,并心存感激。

远离争论。你要是这么说就会惹怒英国人:“上一场战争是因为我们来了才取得了胜利。”每个国家都参与了,付出了鲜血。但是英国人不会忘记,他们最优秀的男性中有近一百万在上一场战争中丧生了。而美国在上次军事行动中只失去了六万人。

这样的争论和英国欠美国的战争债务是交谈的禁忌。纳粹的政治宣传在日夜不停地轰炸着英国人,质问为什么他们就得为拯救“夏洛克大叔和他的银元”而卖命。别谈战争债务,否则你就是自己跳进希特勒的陷阱。

你也不需要提醒英国人,英国军队在这场战争最开始的时候节节败退。我们自己也输了好几回,所以别一开口就苛责别人,还大谈美国人接下来要怎样。夸夸其谈之前要用用脑子,别忘了英国人在孤立无援的情况下独自拖住希特勒多长时间。

在酒吧里,你会听到很多英国人公开批评政府和政府在战争中的表现。这可不是你插嘴发表拙见的时候。这是他们的事,与你无关。你有时会挑剔家人——但让外人指摘你的家人看看,你就会知道那是什么滋味!

英国人和我们一样既坦率又独立。但别误会了,人家是世上最守法的公民。因为英国的司法体系可以说是最完善的了。全英国一年的谋杀、抢劫和入室盗窃案件比美国一个大城市的还少。

再次提醒,要多听多观察,在告诉英国人我们做得比他们好之前,多了解一下情况。他们对于美国人的生活会很感兴趣的,你有大好的机会去扭转很多英国人从电影中得到的对美国的印象——一个由野蛮的印第安人和黑帮匪徒组成的国家。

英国铁路有小巧的货运车(他们叫做“goods wagons”),不是因为他们见识短浅,而是因为小型车可以更灵活地在成千上万的小车站装卸货物。

英国汽车不仅小而且低功率。这是因为所有的汽油都不得不通过几千英里海路进口。

英国出租车有滑稽的前轮结构,看看它们在12英尺宽的街上是如何掉头的,你就明白其中缘由。

英国人不知道如何冲好一杯咖啡,你不知道怎样泡好一杯茶。这样就扯平了。

英国人做事慢条斯理,但不是真的慢。他们顶呱呱的火车可是创造了世界最快的记录的;一条英国船创下了跨越大西洋的最快记录;一位英国司机开着英国车在美国创下了世界最快的记录。

如果英国人没有像美国人那样充分表示对国旗或军旗的尊重,不要因此而觉得被冒犯了。英国人不像我们一样把旗帜看成非常重要的标志,他们更经常对国歌表示敬意。不管战争还是和平时期,《天佑吾王》(和我们的《美利坚》一个调子)会在诸如剧院表演等所有公共集会结束的时候奏响。英国人会觉得国歌奏响的时候不立正是不好的表现,即使这意味着赶不上最后一趟公共汽车。如果你有急事在身,那就在国歌响起之前离开,这样是可以的。

总的来说,英国人——不管是英格兰人,苏格兰人还是威尔士人——都是坦率而真诚的。如果你在休假,对于方向、货币或者风俗感到迷惑,大部分人都会乐意帮助你,只要你先提出来,而且说话谦恭有礼。在所有的问题上,最权威的是离你最近的戴着钢盔的“bobby”(英国人口头称警察)。英国警察很自豪,因为他们能回答太阳底下几乎所有问题。他们不赶时间,会耐心跟你谈话。

英国人欢迎你们,把你们当做朋友和盟友。但是记住,跨过了大洋并不意味着你就成了英雄。比起上一场战争中有一流火力掩护的很多美国士兵,英国有的家庭主妇和年轻人曾从多得多的突击空袭的炸弹下生还。

(注:夏洛克,莎士比亚戏剧《威尼斯商人》中放高利贷的犹太人,代指无情又贪婪的放高利贷者。此处讽刺美国。)

英文原文:

THE PEOPLE -THEIR CUSTOMS AND MANNERS    

THE BEST WAY to get on in Britain is very much the same as the best way to get on in America. The same sort of courtesy and decency and friendliness that go over big in America will go over big in Britain. The British have seen a good many Americans and they like Americans. They will like your frankness as long as it is friendly. They will expect you to be generous. They are not given to back-slapping and they are shy about show-ing their affections. But once they get to like you they make the best friends in the world.

In “getting along” the first important thing to remember is that the British are like the Americans in many ways—but not in all ways. You will quickly discover differences that seem confusing and even wrong. Like driving on the left side of the road, and having money based on an “impossible” accounting system, and drink-ing warm beer. But once you get used to things like that, you will realize that they belong to England just as baseball and jazz and coca-cola belong to us.

 

The British Like Sports. The British of all classes are enthusiastic about sports, both as amateurs and as spectators of professional sports. They love to shoot, they love to play games, they ride horses and bet on horse races, they fish. (But be careful where you hunt or fish. Fishing and hunting rights are often private property.)

The great “spectator” sports are football in the autumn and winter and cricket in the spring and summer. See a “match” in either of these sports whenever you get a chance. You will get a kick out of it—if only for the differences from American sports.

Cricket will strike you as slow compared with American baseball, but it isn’t easy to play well. You will prob-ably get more fun out of “village cricket” which corresponds to sandlot baseball than you would out of one of the big three-day professional matches. The big professional matches are often nothing but a private contest between the bowler (who corresponds to our pitcher) and the batsman (batter) and you have to know the fine points of the game to understand what is going on.

Football in Britain takes two forms. They play soccer, which is known in America; and they also play “rugger,” which is a rougher game and closer to American football, but is played without the padded suits and headguards we use. Rugger requires fifteen on a side, uses a ball slightly bigger than our football, and allows lateral but not forward passing. The English do not handle the ball as cleanly as we do, but they are far more expert with their feet. As in all English games, no substitutes are allowed. If a man is injured, his side continues with fourteen players and so on.

You will find that English crowds at football or cricket matches are more orderly and more polite to the players than American  crowds.  If a fielder misses a catch  at cricket, the crowd will probably take a sympathetic attitude. They will shout “good try” even if it looks to you like a bad fumble. In America the crowd would probably shout “take him out.” This contrast should be remembered. It means that you must be careful in the excite-ment of an English game not to shout out remarks which everyone in America would understand, but which the British might think insulting.

In general more people play games in Britain than in America and they play the game even if they are not good at it. You can always find people who play no better than you and are glad to play with you. They are good sports-men and are quick to recognize good sportsmanship wherever they meet it.

 

Indoor Amusements. The British have theaters and movies (which they call “cinemas”) as we do. But the great place of recreation is the “pub.” A pub, or public house, is what we could call a bar or tavern. The usual drink is beer, which is not an imitation of German beer as our beer is, but ale. (But they usually call it beer or “bitter.”) Not much whiskey is now being drunk. War-time taxes have shot the price of a bottle up to about $4.50. The British are beer-drinkers—and can hold it. The beer is now below peacetime strength, but can still make a man’s tongue wag at both ends.

 

You will be welcome in the British pubs as long as you remember one thing. The pub is “the poor man’s club,” the neighborhood or village gathering place, where the men have come to see their friends, not strangers. If you want to join a darts game, let them ask you first (as they probably will). And if you are beaten it is the custom to stand aside and let someone else play.

The British make much of Sunday. All the shops are closed, most of the restaurants are closed, and in the small towns there is not much to do. You had better follow the example of the British and try to spend Sun-day afternoon in the country.

British churches, particularly the little village churches, are often very beautiful inside and out. Most of them are always open and if you feel like it, do not hestitate to walk in. But do not walk around if a service is going on.

You will naturally be interested in getting to know your opposite number, the British soldier, the “Tommy” you have heard and read about. You can understand that two actions on your part will slow up the friendship— swiping his girl, and not appreciating what his army has been up against. Yes, and rubbing it in that you are better paid than he is.

Children the world over are easy to get along with. British children are much like our own. The British have reserved much of the food that gets through solely for their children. To the British children you as an American will be “something special.” For they have been fed at their schools and impressed with the fact that the food they ate was sent to them by Uncle Sam. You don’t have to tell the British about lend-lease food. They know about it and appreciate it.

 

Keep Out Of Arguments. You can rub a Britisher the wrong way by telling him “we came over and won the last one.” Each nation did its share. But Britain remembers that nearly a million of her best manhood died in the last war. America lost 60,000 in action.

Such arguments and the war debts along with them are dead issues. Nazi propaganda now is pounding away day and night asking the British people why they should fight “to save Uncle Shylock and his silver dollar.” Don’t play into Hitler’s hands by mentioning war debts.

Neither do the British need to be told that their armies lost the first couple of rounds in the present war. We’ve lost a couple, ourselves, so do not start off by being critical of them and saying what the Yanks are going to do. Use your head before you sound off, and remember how long the British alone held Hitler off without any help from anyone.

In the pubs you will hear a lot of Britons openly criticizing their government and the conduct of the war. That isn’t an occasion for you to put in your two-cents worth. It’s their business, not yours. You sometimes criticize members of your own family—but just let an out-sider start doing the same, and you know how you feel!

The Briton is just as outspoken and independent as we are. But don’t get him wrong. He is also the most law-abiding citizen in the world, because the British system of justice is just about the best there is. There are fewer murders, robberies, and burglaries in the whole of Great Britain in a year than in a single large American city.

Once again, look, listen, and learn before you start telling the British how much better we do things. They will be interested to hear about life in America and you have a great chance to overcome the picture many of them have gotten from the movies of an America made up of wild Indians and gangsters. When you find differences between British and American ways of doing things, there is usually a good reason for them.

British railways have dinky freight cars (which they call “goods wagons”) not because they don’t know any better. Small cars allow quicker handling of freight at the thousands and thousands of small stations.

British automobiles are little and low-powered. That’s because all the gasoline has to be imported over thou-sands of miles of ocean.

British taxicabs have comic-looking front wheel structures. Watch them turn around in a 12-foot street and you’ll understand why.

The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea. It’s an even swap.

The British are leisurely—but not really slow. Their crack trains held world speed records. A British ship held the trans-Atlantic record. A British car and a British driver set world’s speed records in America.

Do not be offended if Britishers do not pay as full respects to national or regimental colors as Americans do. The British do not treat the flag as such an important symbol as we do. But they pay more frequent respect to their national anthem. In peace or war “God Save the King” (to the same tune of our “America”) is played at the conclusion of all public gatherings such as theater performances. The British consider it bad form not to stand at attention, even if it means missing the last bus. If you are in a hurry, leave before the national anthem is played. That’s considered alright.

On the whole, British people—whether English, Scottish, or Welsh—are open and honest. If you are on fur-lough and puzzled about directions, money, or customs, most people will be anxious to help you as long as you speak first and without bluster. The best authority on all problems is the nearest “bobby” (policeman) in his steel helmet. British police are proud of being able to answer almost any question under the sun. They’re not in a hurry and they’ll take plenty of time to talk to you.

The British will welcome you as friends and allies. But remember that crossing the ocean doesn’t automatically make you a hero. There are housewives in aprons and youngsters in knee pants in Britain who have lived through more high explosives in air raids than many soldiers saw in first class barrages in the last war.

英国生活指南:第三章
本作品采用知识共享署名-非商业性使用-禁止演绎进行许可。

英国生活指南:第三章:等您坐沙发呢!

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