Esprit de l’escalier

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.

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9 Responses to Esprit de l’escalier

  1. Geraldine says:

    She sounds like Giles’ old Granny in a new coat.

  2. calvininjax says:

    How can she drive her scooter the wrong way along a pavement?

    Has Britain become so regimented these days that pavements are designated as one-way routes?

    Glad I emigrated. 😉

    Of course, if it is a real leopard skin coat, you should take to walking round with a can of Dulux gloss or emulsion and, at your next encounter, pour the contents of said can over the coat. Your place in the PETA Hall of Fame will be assured.

  3. makemeadiva says:

    I used to have a lady like that in London. She was a black old lady dressed in one of those white hat things that some congregations wear (we have them here where they sing on the beach and then do full immersions in the sea in all weathers).

    The thing was she was always parked outside our flat in a gold Marina. I never saw her drive it, she was just parked up. Sometimes for ages.

    I had some funny ideas about her.

  4. Stephen Foster says:

    I would say she weighs about seven stone too, if this fits in with the others: are they some sort of Cult?

  5. Pel says:

    There used to be a really grumpy old man on a mobility scooter that hogged the pavement when I walked with my son to school. He would stop in front of us and shout at us for being in the way. I was very tempted on many occasion to give the back of his head a sharp flick as he past by and I must admit one stressful morning I told him very politely that he was a very grumpy old man, he just looked at me and buzzed off angrily mumbling as he always did. Poor bugger, what made him so cross I wonder.

  6. Pel says:

    Mmmmmm I’m having visions of a Dr Who episode! Or has it already been done? Haha.

  7. Stephen Foster says:

    I would like to give him a sharp rap on the head with a flexible ruler.

  8. OS. says:

    “Is there I wonder a similar expression to describe a person you keep repeatedly seeing?”

    Marriage? 😉

    Yes, I have one, too. Fag in mouth and head down braving any weather seems to be the norm for this breed. Unlike Pel’s, mine isn’t grumpy. 🙂

    I’ve had another car. It’s causing me problems. 😦


  9. Stephen Foster says:

    Ha! That’s only divine retribution for txting mocking messages to those whom the Gods have chosen to break down on the way to football matches.

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