Years ago in America, it was customary for families to leave their doors unlocked, day and night. In this essay, Greene regrets that people can no longer trust each other and have to resort to elaborate security systems to protect themselves and their possessions.
许多年前,在美国,家家户户白天黑夜不锁门是司空见惯的。在本文中,格林叹惜人们不再相互信任,不得不凭借精密的安全设备来保护自己和财产。



The Land of the Lock
Bob Greene
1 In the house where I grew up, it was our custom to leave the front door on the latch at night. I don't know if that was a local term or if it is universal; "on the latch" meant the door was closed but not locked. None of us carried keys; the last one in for the evening would close up, and that was it.
锁之国
鲍伯?格林
小时候在家里,我们的前门总是夜不落锁。我不知道这是当地的一种说法还是大家都这么说;"不落锁"的意思是掩上门,但不锁住。我们谁都不带钥匙;晚上最后一个回家的人把门关上,这就行了。



 
2 Those days are over. In rural areas as well as in cities, doors do not stay unlocked, even for part of an evening.
那样的日子已经一去不复返了。在乡下,在城里,门不再关着不锁上,哪怕是傍晚一段时间也不例外。




3 Suburbs and country areas are, in many ways, even more vulnerable than well-patroled urban streets. Statistics show the crime rate rising more dramatically in those allegedly tranquil areas than in cities. At any rate, the era of leaving the front door on the latch is over.
在许多方面,郊区和农村甚至比巡查严密的城市街道更易受到攻击。统计显示,那些据称是安宁的地区的犯罪率上升得比城镇更为显著。不管怎么说,前门虚掩不落锁的时代是一去不复返了。




4 It has been replaced by dead-bolt locks, security chains, electronic alarm systems and trip wires hooked up to a police station or private guard firm. Many suburban families have sliding glass doors on their patios, with steel bars elegantly built in so no one can pry the doors open.
取而代之的是防盗锁、防护链、电子报警系统,以及连接警署或私人保安公司的报警装置。郊区的许多人家在露台上安装了玻璃滑门,内侧有装得很讲究的钢条,这样就没人能把门撬开。




5 It is not uncommon, in the most pleasant of homes, to see pasted on the windows small notices announcing that the premises are under surveillance by this security force or that guard company. 在最温馨的居家,也常常看得到窗上贴着小小的告示,称本宅由某家安全机构或某个保安公司负责监管。




6 The lock is the new symbol of America. Indeed, a recent public-service advertisement by a large insurance company featured not charts showing how much at risk we are, but a picture of a child's bicycle with the now-usual padlock attached to it.
锁成了美国的新的象征。的确,一家大保险公司最近的一则公益广告没有用图表表明我们所处的危险有多大,而是用了一幅童车的图片,车身上悬着如今无所不在的挂锁。




7 The ad pointed out that, yes, it is the insurance companies that pay for stolen goods, but who is going to pay for what the new atmosphere of distrust and fear is doing to our way of life? Who is going to make the psychic payment for the transformation of America from the Land of the Free to the Land of the Lock?
广告指出,没错,确是保险公司理赔失窃物品,但谁来赔偿互不信任、担心害怕这种新氛围对我们的生活方式所造成的影响呢?谁来对美国从自由之国到锁之国这一蜕变作出精神赔偿呢?




8 For that is what has happened. We have become so used to defending ourselves against the new atmosphere of American life, so used to putting up barriers, that we have not had time to think about what it may mean.
因为那就是现状。我们已经变得如此习惯于保护自己不受美国生活新氛围的影响,如此习惯于设置障碍,因而无暇考虑这一切意味着什么。




9 For some reason we are satisfied when we think we are well-protected; it does not occur to us to ask ourselves: Why has this happened? Why are we having to barricade ourselves against our neighbors and fellow citizens, and when, exactly, did this start to take over our lives?
出于某种原因,当我们觉得防范周密时就感到心满意足;我们没有问过自己:为什么会出现这种情况?为什么非得把自己与邻居和同住一城的居民相隔绝,这一切究竟是从什么时候开始主宰我们生活的?




10 And it has taken over. If you work for a medium- to large-size company, chances are that you don't just wander in and out of work. You probably carry some kind of access card, electronic or otherwise, that allows you in and out of your place of work. Maybe the security guard at the front desk knows your face and will wave you in most days, but the fact remains that the business you work for feels threatened enough to keep outsiders away via these "keys."
这一切确是主宰了我们的生活。如果你在一家大中型公司上班,你上下班很可能不好随意进出。你可能随身带着某种出入卡,电子的或别的什么的,因为这卡能让你进出工作场所。也许前台的保安认识你这张脸,平日一挥手让你进去,但事实明摆着,你所任职的公司深感面临威胁,因此要借助这些“钥匙”不让外人靠近。




11 It wasn't always like this. Even a decade ago, most private businesses had a policy of free access. It simply didn't occur to managers that the proper thing to do was to distrust people.
这一现象并非向来有之。即使在十年前,大多数私营公司仍采取自由出入的做法。那时管理人员根本没想到过恰当的手段是不信任他人。




12 Look at the airports. Parents used to take children out to departure gates to watch planes land and take off. That's all gone. Airports are no longer a place of education and fun; they are the most sophisticated of security sites.
且看各地机场。过去家长常常带孩子去登机口看飞机起飞降落。这种事再也没有了。机场不再是一个有趣的学习场所;它们成了拥有最精密的安全检查系统的场所。




13 With electronic X-ray equipment, we seem finally to have figured out a way to hold the terrorists, real and imagined, at bay; it was such a relief to solve this problem that we did not think much about what such a state of affairs says about the quality of our lives. We now pass through these electronic friskers without so much as a sideways glance; the machines, and what they stand for, have won.
凭借着电子透视装置,我们似乎终于想出妙计让恐怖分子无法近身,无论是真的恐怖分子还是凭空臆想的。能解决这一问题真是如释重负,于是我们不去多想这种状况对我们的生活质量意味着什么。如今我们走过这些电子搜查器时已经看都不看一眼了,这些装置,还有它们所代表的一切已经获胜。




14 Our neighborhoods are bathed in high-intensity light; we do not want to afford ourselves even so much a luxury as a shadow.
我们的居住区处在强光源的照射下;我们连哪怕像阴影这样小小的享受也不想给自己。




15 Businessmen, in increasing numbers, are purchasing new machines that hook up to the telephone and analyze a caller's voice. The machines are supposed to tell the businessman, with a small margin of error, whether his friend or client is telling lies.
越来越多的商人正购置连接在电话机上、能剖析来电者声音的新机器。据说那种机器能让商人知道他的朋友或客户是否在撒谎,其出错概率很小。




16 All this is being done in the name of "security"; that is what we tell ourselves. We are fearful, and so we devise ways to lock the fear out, and that, we decide, is what security means.
所有这一切都是以“安全”的名义实施的:我们是这么跟自己说的。我们害怕,于是我们设法把害怕锁在外面,我们认定,那就是安全的意义。




17 But no; with all this "security," we are perhaps the most insecure nation in the history of civilized man. What better word to describe the way in which we have been forced to live? What sadder reflection on all that we have become in this new and puzzling time?
其实不然;我们虽然有了这一切安全措施,但我们或许是人类文明史上最不安全的国民。还有什么更好的字眼能用来描述我们被迫选择的生活方式呢?还有什么更为可悲地表明我们在这个令人困惑的新时代所感受到的惶恐之情呢?




18 We trust no one. Suburban housewives wear rape whistles on their station wagon key chains. We have become so smart about self-protection that, in the end, we have all outsmarted ourselves. We may have locked the evils out, but in so doing we have locked ourselves in.
我们不信任任何人。郊区的家庭主妇在客货两用车钥匙链上挂着防强暴口哨。我们在自我防卫方面变得如此聪明,最终聪明反被聪明误。我们或许是把邪恶锁在了门外,但在这么做的同时我们把自己锁在里边了。




19 That may be the legacy we remember best when we look back on this age: In dealing with the unseen horrors among us, we became prisoners of ourselves. All of us prisoners, in this time of our troubles.
那也许是我们将来回顾这一时代时记得最牢的精神遗产:在对付我们中间无形的恐惧之时,我们成了自己的囚徒。在我们这个问题重重的时代,所有的人都是囚徒。




 

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