Ross O’Car­roll- Kelly

‘ If she’s never met a brat like Honor be­fore, she mustn’t be from around here’

The Irish Times Magazine - - INSIDE -

So I’m in Don­ny­brook Fair with Honor when the woman in the check­out queue in front of us turns around to me and goes, “Sorry, I for­got to get an aubergine! Would you mind if I just . . ?” She’s ask­ing us to hold her place in the line while she goes off to grab it. And, yeah, no, it an­noys me, but I’m pre­pared to let it go – be­ing very much a peo­ple per­son? – but Honor ends up sud­denly tear­ing into her. She goes, “Why don’t you fin­ish your shop­ping be­fore you come to the fock­ing check­out?”

The woman’s like, “It’s just an aubergine. It’ll only take a sec­ond.”

“Yeah, that’s the sec­ond thing you’ve run off to get since you joined the queue. The last time it was co­conut oil.”

“It’s only a cou­ple of items. I don’t see what the big deal is?”

Honor takes the woman’s trol­ley and shoves it out of the way. “Go and do your shop­ping,” she goes, “then join the check­out queue.”

The poor woman looks at me as if to say, “Are you go­ing to let your daugh­ter speak to me like that?” but I end up just look­ing the other way.

Hey, if she’s never met a brat like Honor be­fore, she mustn’t be from around here.

When she’s gone, I’m just like, “The way you spoke to that woman, Honor-”

She goes, “Yeah, did I ask you for your opin­ion?”

“I was just go­ing to say I was very im­pressed.” “You’re just suck­ing up to me.” “I’m not suck­ing up to you. I’m tip­toe­ing around you. There’s a big dif­fer­ence. It’s just that you seem in bad form to­day and I just wanted to say, you know, if there’s some­thing on your mind, well, your mother’s a pretty good listener.”

She laughs. “Yeah, right,” she goes, then she tells me she’s go­ing out­side to wait in the cor.

I pay for our bits, then I fol­low her out. A few min­utes later, we’re on the Stil­lor­gan du­aller when she looks up from her phone and goes, “You know why I’m in a bad mood.”

She was born in a bad mood. I don’t know why I thought life would get eas­ier as she moved to­wards her teens.

I’m there, “I’m just won­der­ing is there some­thing spe­cific this time?”

“Yes, there’s some­thing spe­cific,” she goes. “My mother – so- called – has can­celled my credit cords.”

“Er, that’s be­cause you ru­ined her royal wed­ding porty.”

Yeah, no, Sor­cha in­vited about twenty- five of her clos­est friends around to the gaff last Satur­day to watch Harry and Meghan get hitched over a Cham­pagne brunch. She was ab­so­lutely de­ter­mined that, of all the Cham­pagne brunch por­ties hap­pen­ing in Killiney that day, hers was go­ing to be the best.

She spent lit­er­ally the en­tire day be­fore prep­ping food for it. The menu was in­spired – mean­ing “stolen” – from Meghan Morkle’s life­style blog: we’re talk­ing her poached pears in spiced orange juice; we’re talk­ing her Aegean- in­spired kale salad; we’re talk­ing her baked eggs in av­o­cado; we’re talk­ing her co­conut chai smooth­ies.

Ten hours she spent in that kitchen be­fore col­laps­ing into bed around mid­night. Then, just af­ter she did, Honor tipped down­stairs and un­plugged the fridge.

“Ev­ery­thing was de­stroyed,” I re­mind her. “Can you imag­ine Sor­cha’s em­bar­rass­ment when her crew called around?”

“Em­bar­rass­ment?” she goes. “Er, they were all dressed for a wed­ding they weren’t even in­vited to? She was giv­ing out prizes for the best hat. She has no idea what em­bar­rass­ment even means.”

“Well, at least you know now why she took your credit cords.” “I don’t.” “I sus­pect she’s try­ing to teach you that bad be­hav­iour has con­se­quences.” “Why is she try­ing to teach me that?” “I don’t know. I pre­sume it’s some­thing she read in a book. Or more likely a magazine.”

I pull into a petrol sta­tion be­cause the cor needs juice. I fill it up while Honor stands be­side me and car­ries on – I sup­pose you’d have to call it – vent­ing?

She goes, “You should have de­fended me. I thought you, of all peo­ple, would have found what I did funny.”

I’m there, “Yeah, no, it was kind of funny? As a par­ent, though, I should pos­si­bly be teach­ing you that stuff can be hi­lar­i­ous but at the same time wrong.” “You’re a cow­ard.” “Ex­cuse me?” “I’m say­ing you’ve got no back­bone.” “Er, no one who ever saw me play rugby would say that I lacked back­bone, Honor. I rest my case.”

I re­place the fuel noz­zle but she fol­lows me in­side to pay while con­tin­u­ing to tear my char­ac­ter aport.

“Just like back there in Don­ny­brook Fair,” she goes, “when that woman joined the check­out queue be­fore she’d fin­ished do­ing her ac­tual shop­ping. You hate peo­ple who do that as much as I do. And yet you just stood there and said noth­ing.”

I’m there, “You seemed to have the sit­u­a­tion very much in hand.”

“You just looked the other way. You’re a cow­ard. You have no char­ac­ter at all.”

We’re stand­ing in a queue of, like, four or five peo­ple. I sort of brood over what she said un­til the dude be­hind the counter fi­nally shouts, “Next!”

Just as I’m about to move, some dude comes up on the in­side of me. “Ex­cuse me,” he goes. “I just-” Straight away, I’m like, “The an­swer is no.” He’s there, “What?” “Let me guess. You’re only get­ting a cor­ton of milk and you have the ex­act change handy and you think that en­ti­tles you to skip to the front of the queue. Well, it doesn’t. You can ac­tu­ally fock off.”

Honor laughs. Oh, there’s no ques­tion she’s look­ing at her old man dif­fer­ently all of a sud­den. She’s like, “Oh my God, Dad, that was amaz­ing!”

And, spurred on by her, I turn back to the dude and I go, “You know, peo­ple like you make me sick. Peo­ple who don’t re­spect the rules of queu­ing. You stand be­hind some­one and you wait your fock­ing turn. It’s ac­tu­ally very sim­ple.”

The dude goes, “I wasn’t look­ing to skip you. I no­ticed that you left your car un­locked. And I just saw some­one take a lap­top bag, a briefcase and three Don­ny­brook Fair shop­ping bags out of the boot.”

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