Wishing for Plinko, winning a dinette set and a daybed.
It's like that.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
I've been a lifelong sufferer of Treppenwitz, or "L'esprit de l'escalier" (staircase wit). The phrase comes from walking down a staircase to leave a place and suddenly thinking of the perfect thing to say. "Yeah? Well the jerk store called..." That sort of thing.
I'm always thinking of the perfect thing to say days after the opportunity to use it has passed. But there's no chic-sounding french phrase that roughly translates to, "A week after missing a great chance to say something witty, you come up with a clever retort while watching House Hunters, slightly drunk, in your pajamas."
Anyway, when I asked a salesman the price of something the other day, instead of just telling me, he said, "I can be flexible on the price. What are you looking to spend?"
Note: I hate haggling. I'm terrible at it, I don't enjoy it on any level, and i would prefer things to simply have a set price.
"Um, well how much does it cost? Then I'll see if that's what I want to spend."
So he goes, "This is the price I can do." And he slid the number over to me.
It was a scene straight out of a bad TV show where negotiations are made by writing down a figure and passing it back and forth to each other to work out a price. Only, I didn't want to do this. And, instead of like in those TV shows where the numbers are written down on paper, folded in half and passed across the table, this number exchange happened on, wait for it, a calculator.
A calculator! Who has ever heard of a calculator haggle?! There was no one around us, there was no reason to be secretive, and it was totally pointless to not just say the number. Did he expect me to type a number back to him? Fighting an eye-roll with every bit of my being, I thanked him and started to walk away.
"Wait, what number were you thinking?" (This guy would make a terrible magician.)
I was tempted to play along because I thought it might be fun to say something like, "I'm thinking of something closer to... this." But I wasn't sure how calculator haggling worked so I just said, "It's OK, thanks anyway."
But of course, today, in true staircase fashion, I thought of how funny it would have been to take the calculator, squint like I was thinking of a fair price, clear his number away, and type BOOB, before passing it back to him. It was probably the only real opportunity I will ever have to type BOOB on a calculator and I missed it. Sorry, third grade version of me. I let you down.
Jessica Martin grew up on her family’s farm in Brockport, New York. She spent her formative years talking to herself in the mirror and memorizing lines from Full House episodes. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Television, Radio and Film and that proved to be worthwhile in that she still enjoys all of those things. After living in San Francisco, New York, and Boston, Jessica has learned the importance of light layers, irony, and remembering how people take their coffee.
A fortune cookie once told her that she finds beauty in ordinary things, and she liked this. But then another fortune cookie told her that she liked horse racing and gambling, but not to excess, so she’s not entirely sure what to believe. She sort of thinks fortune cookies should stop pretending they know her so well.
Open-Eyed Sneeze is her first book.