A Summary

This has been a summer of birthday parties. Before the 50th birthday described below, there was a 51st for M and a 59th for B, both parties on Tuesday nights in the front yard of B and S's house. The most memorable comment was at B's, when I walked inside the house and thought I saw a friend, but realized it was her daughter. I said to the daughter, O, I thought you were your mother for a moment. She replied: I have bigger breasts than she does. I said, I was just looking at you from the back. I should have said, I have only one breast. I had to sell the other one to pay for graduate school.

This is a young woman who tries to provoke.

English has so many more words than other languages, but the French are so good at combining the words they do have. There's l'esprit d'escalier, the spirit of the staircase, which makes me think of a ghost hiding in the banister, but it means the words that you should have said that don't come to you until you're leaving, walking down the staircase.

This should not be confused with Geisterfahrer (Austrian German): one travelling the wrong way up an autobahn (literally, ghost driver).

We are all traveling the wrong way and not being as clever as we would like to be, the words arriving late if at all. Who is the saint of lost words, who will put them back into our mouths and brains when they fall instead to our feet? No one. Or никто, as they say in the Russian.

3 comments:

mamawhelming said...

George Costanza is the patron saint of very late, less-than-clever retorts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Comeback_(Seinfeld_episode)

Anonymous said...

It does remind me of when I met my father-in-law for the first time. The first words out of his mouth (looking at the size of my belt line),"About forty percent more than anticipated."

It wasn't until almost a week later that I realized it would have been the perfect opportunity to say, "Yes, but then brains aren't everything."

Sam

Trudie said...

Go here http://www.thebiggertheyget.com/archives/163
for a word that partially applies to this situation...