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美文:电邮时代你还坚持写信么

2014-12-23    来源:英语学习    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

美文:电邮时代你还坚持写信么

“欲尽此情书尺素,浮雁沉鱼,终了无凭据”出自宋代诗人晏几道的古诗作品《蝶恋花•梦入江南烟水路》之中。作者想诉说他的相思提笔写信,但是雁去鱼沉,到头来这封信也没能寄出。本文作者生于现代西方国家,在这个人人都已习惯了发送电子邮件的时代,虽然年代、地域和环境都相差甚远,但怀揣长信而不知寄往何处的不安之情却是相通的。

By Robert Klose

I no longer run for the mail the way I used to. I remember, prior to the e-mail age, the sense of heightened anticipation as the hour of mail delivery approached, wondering what slender, handwritten treasures would appear in my box. I once received a letter from a long-lost friend and swelled with such joy that I ran the mail carrier down and shook his hand, as if he had done a heroic deed in conveying the missive to me.

Once a day. Six days a week. That was the rhythm. Through snow, rain, heat, and gloom of night. I first learned to love the mail as a young boy. The first thing I ever received that was personally addressed to me was from my buddy Duane. We had been the fastest of 9-year-old friends. Then he moved away, to Massachusetts. The parting was difficult, but boys didn’t cry.

Within the week, however, there was a letter in my mailbox. It was from Duane, and it read, “I’m OK, but I miss you.” That first conveyance to me of a written word from a great distance had all the import of the first Morse code message: “What hath God wrought.” It was at that moment that I became a letter writer, quickly discovering that the more letters I wrote, the more I received.

I wrote letters through elementary school, high school, college, and beyond. It got to the point where I could comfortably expect to receive a letter a day. The daily mail delivery was, for me, like a beacon at sea – something toward which my thoughts began to move upon waking. What quickened my blood, of course, was the element of surprise: From whom would the letter be today? And what would the news be?

And then, seemingly in the blink of an eye, the earth shifted. E-mail had arrived. Despite being intrigued by the new technology, I promised myself that I would never stop writing letters by hand. However, I had no control over the proclivities of others, and slowly, inexorably, and then with quickened pace, the letters disappeared from my mailbox, having been replaced with electronic “messages” (a totally different beast —in contrast to letters, all e-mails look alike).

And so, like a shipwrecked man stuffing notes into bottles, tossing them into the waves, and hoping for the best, I continue to write longhand, licking envelopes, sticking stamps, and handing my outgoing mail to the carrier who regards me with a curious eye, as if he is perceiving the last member of a species on the brink of extinction. But he must share the pathos, for the moment he takes my letter he invariably says, “Thanks for your business.”

Yes, it’s clear that he feels sorry for me, a man continually spitting into the wind and not learning any lessons from it. But I feel bad for him as well, trudging through the snow, only rarely bringing me a letter from a friend, and more likely delivering advertising circulars or an unsolicited “Open Right Away!” announcement congratulating me for having reached the final tier in a million-dollar sweepstakes.

But it gets sadder than this. Some months ago, while thinking about but not anticipating the mail, I noticed the lateness of the hour and my still-empty mailbox. By 6 that evening there was still no sign of the carrier. The next morning I called the post office. “Oh,” the cheerful voice intoned . “It got dark, so the carrier went home.”

So much for the gloom of night.

“He’ll bring your mail this afternoon,” the voice concluded.

That wasn’t true. When the carrier finally did make his way down my street, I signaled to him, but he shrugged amiably and said, “Nothing for you today.”

I think that, at some level, I already knew that.

Vocabulary

1. cling to: 坚持,执著于。

2. 我还记得在电子邮件时代来临之前的那股强烈的期盼之情,在信件投递时刻一点点靠近时,总会好奇究竟会有怎样的薄薄的墨迹宝物在我的信箱中出现。prior to: 在……之前;heightened: 增强的,提高的;anticipation: 盼望,期待;slender: 微薄的。

3. swell with: 充满了(某种情感);run down: 找到(某人/某物);heroic: 英雄的,高尚的;missive: 信件,信函。

4. gloom: 黑暗,阴暗。

5. fast: 忠实的,感情牢固的。

6. conveyance: 表达,表示;import: 重要性,含义;Morse code: 摩斯密码,一种信号代码,通过不同的排列顺序来表达不同的英文字母、数字和标点符号;wrought: 〈过时〉work的过去式和过去分词。

7. 对我而言,每日的信件正如海上的灯塔——我一睁开眼,我的思想就开始向往之。beacon: 灯塔,信号塔。

8. in the blink of an eye: 一眨眼的工夫,形容时间过得很快;shift: 改变,转变。此处形容发生了天翻地覆的变化。

9. intrigue: 使……好奇,引起……的兴趣。

10. proclivity: (尤指坏的)倾向;inexorably: 不可阻挡地,不容变更地;beast: 某种东西,具有某种特点的事物(一般为幽默用法)。

11. 因此,就像沉船事故的幸存者把小字条塞入瓶中,满心希望地投到海浪之中那样,我怀着同样的心情继续手写书信,舔信封的封口,粘上邮票,把我要寄出的信交给邮差,他那疑惑的眼神就好像在看濒危物种中的最后一个似的。toss: 抛,扔;longhand: 普通书写的(与打字或速记相对);brink: 边缘。

12. pathos: 伤感,怜悯;invariably: 不变地,始终如一地。

13. spit into the wind: 逆风而行,比喻逆潮流行事。

14. trudge: 艰难地走,步履沉重地走;circular: (夹在报纸、杂志中寄给消费者的)广告宣传品;unsolicited: 未经要求的,主动发出的;tier: 一层,一等级;sweepstake: 抽彩(名字被选中便赢得奖品)。

(英语学习)



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