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留学文书共赏 || 别人家的大学申请文书(二)

《纽约时报》每年都在高三学生中公开征集关注金钱、工作或者阶层的大学申请文书。在今年海量投稿中,有几篇文书脱颖而出。今天文章里推送凯特琳-麦考密克的申请文书。她来自亚利桑那州图森市格列高利学校,计划就读于伯纳德学院。

‘Slowly, my mother’s gingham apron began to look more like metal armor.’

“渐渐地,妈妈的条纹布裙开始看似更像金色盔甲。”

When it comes to service workers, as a society we completely disregard the manners instilled in us as toddlers.

当提到服务行业的工作人员时,我们作为一个社会就完全地忽视了幼年束教的礼仪。

For seventeen years, I have awoken to those workers, to clinking silverware rolled in cloth and porcelain plates removed from the oven in preparation for breakfast service. I memorized the geometry of place mats slid on metal trays, coffee cups turned downward, dirtied cloth napkins disposed on dining tables.

十七年来,我睁开眼睛就能看到这些服务人员,他们丁零咣当地擦净用布裹着的镀银餐具,从烤箱中端出磁盘,以准备早餐服务。我记得垫子滑过铁盘放置成的几何图形、倒扣的咖啡杯、丢在餐桌上的脏餐巾。

I knew never to wear pajamas outside in the public courtyard, and years of shushing from my mother informed me not to speak loudly in front of a guest room window. I grew up in the swaddled cacophony of morning chatter between tourists, professors, and videographers. I grew up conditioned in excessive politeness, fitted for making small talk with strangers.

我知道在公共院落里永远不能穿睡裤。经过妈妈多年的喝止,我也明白在客厅窗前不能大声喧哗。一方面,我在旅客、教授、摄像们每日清晨喋喋不休的嘈杂声中裹挟长大。另一方面,我在过度礼貌和跟陌生人寒暄的条条框框里长大。

I grew up in a bed and breakfast, in the sticky thickness of the hospitality industry. And for a very long time I hated it.

我在住宿加早餐的简易旅馆里长大,在浓厚的酒店行业里长大。长期以来,我对此深恶痛绝。

I was late to my own fifth birthday party in the park because a guest arrived five hours late without apology. Following a weeklong stay in which someone specially requested her room be cleaned twice a day, not once did she leave a tip for housekeeping. Small-business scammers came for a stop at the inn several times. Guests stained sheets, clogged toilets, locked themselves out of their rooms, and then demanded a discount.

五岁的时候,在公园里为我举办生日宴会,但我却迟到了,就是因为一位客人晚到五个小时,而他却连句道歉的话都没有说。有人住了一个星期,提出一天要搞两次房间清洁的特殊要求,却从来没有为客房服务留过小费。小生意的套磁者屡次来客栈打尖。这些客人弄脏床单,堵塞马桶,把自己关在房间外面,然后要求打折。

There exists between service workers and their customers an inherent imbalance of power: We meet sneers with apologies. At the end of their meal, or stay, or drink, we let patrons determine how much effort their server put into their job.

在服务人员和他们的顾客之间,存在着固有的权力失衡:我们面对冷嘲热讽,往往选择道歉。在顾客们吃完、喝完、住完以后,我们让顾主们来决定服务人员的工作有多努力。

For most of my life I believed my parents were intense masochists for devoting their existences to the least thankful business I know: the very business that taught me how to discern imbalances of power. Soon I recognized this stem of injustice in all sorts of everyday interactions. I came to understand how latent racism, sexism, classism and ableism structure our society — how tipping was only a synonym for “microaggression.”

在人生的大部分时间里,我相信父母都是献身于匮乏感恩行业的重度受虐狂:正是这个行业教我辨识权力失衡。我很快看出日常互动中各种各样的主要不公现象,并逐渐地理解潜在的种族、性别、阶层和体能歧视如何建构我们的社会——支付小费如何只是“微侵犯”的同义词罢了。

I became passionate. Sometimes enraged. I stumbled upon nonprofits, foundations, and political campaigns. I canvassed for Senate candidates, phone-banked for grass-roots action groups, served as a board member for the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, reviewed grant applications for nonprofits and organized events for the nearby children’s hospital.

我变得慷慨激昂,有时候也会激愤难平。我涉足非盈利组织、基金会和政治活动。我为参议院候选人游说拉票,为草根行动团体做电话推广,在南亚利桑那州妇女基金会当任理事,为非盈利组织审核援助申请,为附近的儿童医院组织活动等等。

I devoted my time to the raw grit of helping people, and in the process I fell irrevocably in love with a new type of service: public service. At the same time, I worked midnight Black Friday retail shifts and scraped vomit off linoleum. When I brought home my first W-2, I had never seen my parents so proud.

我把时间都投入到帮助群众的真实义举中,并在此过程中,不可避免地喜欢上一种新型的服务工作:公共服务。与此同时,我于黑色星期五的午夜在零售店值班,把地板上的呕吐物擦得干干净净。当我带着《工资收入表》回到家里,我看到父母从未有过如此骄傲。

The truth, I recently learned, was that not all service is created equal. Seeing guests scream at my parents over a late airport taxi still sickens me even as I spend hours a week as a volunteer. But I was taught all work is noble, especially the work we do for others. Slowly, my mother’s gingham apron began to look more like metal armor. I learned how to worship my parents’ gift for attentive listening, easily hearing the things guests were incapable of asking for — not sugar with their tea, but somebody to talk with while they waited for a conference call. I envied their ability to wear the role of self-assured host like a second skin, capable of tolerating any type of cruelty with a smile.

所有的服务工作并非生来平等,这是我最近学到的真理。即使我每周花好几个小时做志愿者,但我看到有些客人因为出租车接机晚点冲我父母大喊大叫,依然会觉得恶心。然而,我已经学会,所有的工作都很高贵,尤其是为他人服务的工作。渐渐地,妈妈的条纹布裙开始看似更像金色盔甲。我学会如何推崇父母馈赠的倾听技巧,能够容易地听到客人自己无法表达的请求——他们不是要在茶里加糖,而是在等电话会议的时候找个人说话。我羡慕父母总是能够表现得像胸有成竹的主人,能够笑对各种残酷的现实。

Most of all, I admired my parents’ continuous trust in humanity to not abuse their help. I realized that learning to serve people looks a lot like learning to trust them.

最重要的是,我钦佩父母长期以来对人性的信任,从不滥用他们的帮助。我意识到学习服务,在很多方面,就像学习信任。

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