L’espirit d’escalier

A saleswoman, just now, making small talk as she showed us samples before working up the estimate of a price, asked me what I did before I retired.  I told her I was a lawyer, and that I hated it.   Her daughter is a litigator, she said brightly, works for Aiken Gump [1], presumably litigating on behalf of corporate clients.  I smiled, sort of.  A moment later, l’espirit d’escalier [2] caught me and I had to shrug, with almost Gallic resignation, thinking of my missed much better answer to “what did you do before you retired?”– about my law career, my teaching career, about my life in general:

I conspicuously lacked the serenity to accept the things I could not change.

 

1] oy, my achin’ gump, as Sekhnet and I reflexively say whenever we hear the name of that law firm

{2]  L’esprit de l’escalier or l’esprit d’escalier is a French term used in English for the predicament of thinking of the perfect reply too late.

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