de l'escalier literally translates to spirit of the staircase.
This French phrase expresses the feeling of when you think of the perfect comeback, retort,
or simply what
you should have said, after the event or conversation
is over--you've left and gone down the stairs.
In German, the term is Treppenwitz,
"thinking of a clever remark (especially the perfect rejoinder to someone's
comment) only after it is far too late to actually say it. The term is also
applied to events that seem to be the result of a cosmic joke, such as the
Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, where the United States won the
biggest victory of the war two weeks after a peace treaty had been signed."
English terms for it are "after-wit," "stairway syndrome,"
or "staircase wit."
include mention of this on INFJ.com for a couple of reasons. For one
thing, it's painfully accurate! How many times have you been to a party or
a celebration or dinner -- whatever -- and on your way to your car at evening's
end you suddenly know the perfect thing you should have said in repartee, or
some brilliant joke comes to mind that *would* have been great?
can almost guarantee it will happen to me! Like a delayed reaction,
going to begin telling people I suffer from "Treppenwitz."
friend Dario says his DomNi gives him brilliant flashes of insights all the
time, but it's never a complete package. Invariably some missing component
shows up belatedly, like a postman delivering handlebars two days late for the
tricycle he spent Christmas Eve assembling.
used to work in a women's clothing store. Two women came in to the shop
one day, and the owners whispered to keep an eye on them, because one of them
was a notorious shoplifter. So I watched them like a hawk, or so I
thought. (Woe to my lack of Sensing skills!) After trying on a
number of items, the two women approached the counter and purchased a
garment. But something wasn't right -- I knew it, but couldn't put my
finger on it.
two women left the store, but my brain was churning wildly. Abruptly it
came to me: the shoplifter had walked out wearing one of our sweaters --
unpaid-for! Argh! (And she was long gone by then.)
course, when I realized what had happened and told the owners, they seemed to
blame me for not realizing it sooner, even though she had gotten past their
eagle eyes as well. They almost acted like it was me who stole it instead
of her! In hindsight, I probably should have kept my mouth shut.
I've begun to think of Ni as bringing the invariable afterthought. I
almost hold out for it, like always holding a meeting up for a perpetual
ironically weird to be renowned for your judging function, and yet have your
life ruled by a flakey and weird perceiving function. And so few people
car door has been privy to some really great punchlines.
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