Some of my best comebacks occur to me only after the argument has ended. I do not act on it. Obviously, that will be childish and ineffective. It is tempting, though. Especially, when I am dealing with road rage caused by mouthy traffic violators. I tend to lose my cool around them. Many a time I have rolled down my car window to sound off expletives. If I cannot gain the upper hand, either I push a verbal duel to the periphery of escalation or I walk away. It depends on the kind of day I have been having, and the level of aggression I have been subject to.
There is also that question – what if he resembles one of my favorite professional wrestlers, and his friends look like they have opted to mule drugs because of how dangerous their previous jobs were? Usually, that is a pretty good reason to let go of the anger.
To calm myself down, I take long breaths while stepping on the accelerator. Then, something clever comes to mind. But the moment has passed. It does not feel special, considering the other person is unaware of it. So, I shelve the new information in the dusty bookshelves of my mind. I file it under the ‘Things I Should Have Said To Rude Drivers To Walk Away With A Triumphant Feeling’ category; right below ‘Things I Could Have Said To My Exes To End The Relationship Instead of Having A Plodding Conversation About How Things Are Not Working Out’.
Lately, though, I have been wanting to collate these late comebacks. When I grow old and regretful, I may be eager to revisit such moments. In an ideal world, I will be able to find those – whom I have had problems with – and ensure that they hear me out. Given the user acceptance of social media, and the Orwellian Kool-Aid known as the Aadhaar card – such a scenario is not that far-fetched. But I will understand if they do not remember me. And of course, I will be grateful If they help me book a taxi so that I can get back home, without breaking my hip.
But, my current expectations are low-hanging fruits. I will settle for leaning back in the armchair while reading aloud a list of sardonic retorts. It will not matter then that there is no one around to listen. I can only hope for a few crows or ravens to be my companions. With their rich memory banks, I bet they will have a thing or two to say about all that could have been. I am sure to draw some comfort in knowing that they too seek redemption.
Because I will be defined by what I let go of; not merely by what I hold on tightly to.
An unbroken clock