As a result of their ability to throw interactional expectations and processes into high relief, standoffs are rich interactional sites with which to think about contingency in social life. The methodological approach to this doubled subject (contingency and standoffs) is innovative in that it employs the insights and epistemological frames of both structuralism and pragmatism as these approaches engage the interpretation of symbolic action. The particular form of discourse analysis employed here incorporates and sustains the structuralist preoccupation with forms and systems and the pragmatist focus on processual transformation of symbolic meaning over time. As such, the author proposes to chart the conceptual parameters of time, space, and texts as they are perceived and worked with by actors and as they contingently move the action of the standoff forward. The aim is to develop an analytical language that can simultaneously chart form and process.