L’Esprit D’Escalier


Things have changed, if just a little bit, in ten years. From January 2005:

I’ve been hearing dialogue everywhere, dialogue that seems to be coming from the same play.

At the end of party I went to recently, a woman told me that I talk too much.  I didn’t know how to respond, and left the party shortly afterwards, a bit confounded and mute, and afflicted with what the French call l’esprit d’escalier – “the wit of the staircase” – i.e., my mind began filling with all sorts of things I should or could have said.

So: a mind rewind.

Here we go:  “Bob, you talk too much.”

  • “True, true, true, true.”
  • “Not ‘too much,’ just ‘much.’”
  • “If you subtract the number of times I repeat myself, then you know that at least I don’t say too much.”
  • “I can tell you why: You’re not going anywhere, are you?”
  • “I just keep going until I find a word that makes you friendly.”
  • “Does that mean you don’t think I’m interesting?”
  • “What would you suggest I not have said?”
  • Or, finally: “Oh throw me away and call it a day.”

[A friend wrote me later, charmingly: “You don’t talk too much.  People talk too little.”]

repost from basil.ca

photo by Robert Basil

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