This is one of my favourite expressions, one that encapsulates an all too familiar experience: it means to think of a witty and incisive remark or retort after the opportunity to use it has passed. The literal translation from the French is ‘wit of the staircase’ suggesting something that comes to mind while leaving a gathering. I’d like to give an example, but, in a rather conceptually intact moment, I can’t remember one.
Is there I wonder a similar expression to describe a person you keep repeatedly seeing? I currently have this ninety-year old woman in a leopard skin print fur coat and a fur hat. She drives a mobility scooter the wrong way down the pavement and has a cigarette sticking straight out of the centre of her mouth. She keeps both hands determinedly on the scooter handlebars to the effect that she smokes the cigarette without handling it. On Saturday I saw her for the third time in the last couple of weeks. On Saturday it was raining chats and chiens and she was driving her scooter into the face of the storm. Her outfit was the same; her only concession to the conditions was to lean her head forward and downwards to keep the tab alive.