Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Wit Of The Staircase

When I’m nervous, and I’m asked an in-depth question, my mind goes instantly blank and I start just talking, and I can’t really hear my thoughts properly as they come out of my mouth. I ramble on, hoping I have at least covered part of the question, whilst trying to remember what the question was. I have a tendency to only think of my answers clearly after the fact. I’ve heard this referred to as “the wit of the staircase”, which is a phrase I really like. It’s a literal translation of the French saying “esprit d’escalier”. I’m glad it’s an universal thing. Did I mention I love Wikipedia?

I think that’s why I like to write. Or, at least, it’s one of the reasons I like to write. In person, I am timid in a crowd, I don’t like to speak out. I tend to sit quietly, taking in everything, forming my opinions and brimming with ideas. Until I feel completely comfortable either in the situation, or with the people I’m with, I keep most of my thoughts and feelings to myself. But ask me to write and it’s a totally different scenario.

On paper, or in type, I have no problem speaking out and sharing whatever’s going on inside my head. I am (fairly) eloquent on paper, whereas I can be a bumbling mess in person. Written down, my thoughts make sense, I can see where they’re coming from and where they want to go next. If I have a big decision to make, I have to write about it in my journal until the answer shows itself. I like how writing something down makes it clearer, easier to understand.

The superpower I’ve always dreamed of having is the ability to stop Time. I’ve wanted to be able to do this for as long as I can remember. I still find myself saying it now: If only I could stop Time, I’d be able to x or y or z.... I think the Time-stopping ability would be so brilliant for me, because, if I was called on to say something, or to figure something out on the spot, I could simply click my fingers, stop Time, get my pen and paper out and scribble away until I had it all worked out perfectly.

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