Show and Tell.
We all have experiences where after we leave a conversation, or a date ends, we realize something clever we wish we had said.
The French call this l’esprit de l’escalier, which means, roughly, staircase wit (as in, you get the idea for something to say only when you are in the staircase, heading home).
Can you recall moments in your life, at work or at home, where you realize now there was something else you wish you had said? Or done? Make a list.
What happens to me is I think of a retort after the fact. i have found it is not good for me to review all of them. So rather than make a list, I will mention the one that to me is the most shocking.
My son was in 4th grade. We had moved to the town a year or two before. We were trying hard to fit in and I thought I had found a nice group of moms who had sons that were my son’s age. Granted the other kids were closer to each other than they were to my son, but that seemed ok.
One Thursday evening one of the moms called me and said the following almost verbatim: “I’m having a birthday party for my son on Saturday. Stevie as it turns out can’t come. So to make the numbers come out right for the party I want to invite your son.” Yeah, she really said that. The pathetic thing is I was so desperate for him to fit in that I accepted the “invite”. Did he ever become a member of this clique? Nope. Never was accepted. He was always either bullied or ignored by the group.
What do I wish I had said?…Oh a whole host of things. But probably something along the lines of ‘despite the dubious honor of being included, I’m going to decline on my son’s behalf’. Geez…. this was the cliquey-est place I have ever seen. And I have lived in a lot of places.