Ross O’Car­roll- Kelly

‘ You’ve got four chil­dren to rear – even though I know we’ve kind of given up on Honor’

The Irish Times Magazine - - INSIDE -

It’s nice to know that, af­ter how­ever many years we’ve been mar­ried, me and Sor­cha still have the ca­pac­ity to sur­prise each other. “Sacked?” she goes. “You mean sacked from the es­tate agency?” I’m there, “Yeah, no, it was a thing called a data breach, which is some­thing we’re all sup­posed to be tak­ing se­ri­ously all of a sud­den. I think Lau­ren will look back one day and hope­fully ac­cept that she over- re­acted.”

Sor­cha, by the way, does the op­po­site? She goes, “Oh, well, it’s not the end of the world, is it?”

I’m there, “You’re tak­ing this sur­pris­ingly well. While you’re in that mood, I’m tempted to also men­tion that I ac­ci­den­tally broke the head off the Lladro bal­le­rina that your old pair bought you for your grad­u­a­tion and I glued it back on again. And that I’ve been hav­ing a flir­ta­tion­ship with a girl who works in Costa and who’s fallen a lit­tle bit in love with me and is now sort of stalk­ing me across three so­cial me­dia plat­forms.”

“The rea­son I’m not up­set, Ross, is that it ac­tu­ally sim­pli­fies things?” “Sim­pli­fies things? As in?” “I’ve de­cided to go back to work my­self.” “You? Are you talk­ing about open­ing an­other clothes shop?”

“No, I’m talk­ing about fi­nally hav­ing the ca­reer that I wanted be­fore I had the chil­dren.”

While this con­ver­sa­tion is hap­pen­ing, I should men­tion, the triplets are run­ning amok in the kitchen. Brian is stand­ing on a chair, try­ing to put his hand into the toaster; Leo is down on his hands and knees, eat­ing por­ridge off the floor, be­cause he’s de­cided he wants to be a dog; and Johnny is shout­ing, “Fock you, Spongebob!” at the top of his voice, over and over and over again.

Sor­cha goes, “You re­mem­ber a few months ago, I went to that Mount Anville Past Pupils As­so­ci­a­tion Net­work­ing Break­fast in the Dy­lan Ho­tel?”

I’m there, “Yeah, no, I col­lected you af­ter­wards. You were mullered – although I’m one to talk!”

“Well, I met an old friend of mine there. Do you re­mem­ber Salomé Bren­nan? She was on the Peace and Jus­tice Com­mit­tee at school. She did Busi­ness Stud­ies with Ger­man in Trin­ity and was sup­posed to go on to do, like, Re­search Com­put­ing in Har­vard but she ended up get­ting mono?” “Er, not re­ally, no.” “Well, she per­suaded me to join her eco­nomic dis­cus­sion group on What­sApp – are you even lis­ten­ing to me, Ross?”

“I’m zon­ing in and out, Sor­cha. There’s an aw­ful lot to take in.”

“Well, ba­si­cally, what hap­pened is that Salomé now works for LinkedIn and she rec­om­mended me for a job there – as a Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions So­lu­tions Strate­gist.”

“Will there be a re­cap of all of this at the end, Sor­cha?”

“Any­way, I went for the in­ter­view. Even though I ac­tu­ally thought I was, like, to­tally un­qual­i­fied for the job, given that most of my work ex­pe­ri­ence has been in the – like you said – re­tail sec­tor? But I ended up do­ing an amaz­ing, amaz­ing in­ter­view – and they of­fered me the job.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, I think I’m fi­nally catch­ing up here. You’re go­ing back to work?” “I stort on Mon­day.” “This is not me be­ing sexist, but who’s go­ing to look af­ter the kids?” “You are, Ross.” “Are you say­ing you want me to be one of those, I don’t know, stay- in- bed fa­thers?” “Stay- at- home fa­thers – yes, I do.” “But I don’t know the first thing about look­ing af­ter chil­dren.”

There’s sud­denly a roar from Brian. He’s man­aged to burn his fin­gers on the toaster.

Sor­cha goes, “Well, now’s your time to learn, Ross.”

I lift Brian off the chair and I carry him, scream­ing, over to the sink. I sit him on the drain­ing board, turn on the cold tap and pour wa­ter over his fin­gers. Leo, hav­ing fin­ished his por­ridge, is go­ing, “Woof- woof! Woof- woof!” pre­sum­ably look­ing for more.

I’m go­ing, “Shush, Brian. If you stop cry­ing, I’ll bring you to Dun­drum for pur­ple ice cream.”

Sor­cha’s there, “It’s such an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for me. I’m go­ing to be work­ing proac­tively with the Se­nior Man­age­ment Team to help de­liver a co­he­sive, co- or­di­nated and highly qual­i­ta­tive cus­tomer en­gage­ment ex­pe­ri­ence.”

I’m like, “Again, care­fully tread­ing the misog­yny line here, you’ve got four chil­dren to rear – even though I know we’ve kind of given up on Honor.” “Do you watch the news, Ross?” “Not if I can help it, no.” “If you did, you would know that the world has changed. Those gen­der roles you’re talk­ing about be­long in the 1970s. Or maybe the 1870s.”

Sud­denly, with­out any warn­ing, Johnny reaches down and slaps the still bark­ing Leo across the back of the head. Leo yelps, then turns around and sinks his teeth into his brother’s an­kle.

I’m there, “Sor­cha, please. I gen­uinely don’t think I can do this. I’ll find an­other job. I could give the Le­in­ster Branch a ring, see if there’s any jobs go­ing in the coach­ing set- up – even if it’s just put­ting the cones out for the academy goys.”

She goes, “Ross, I think Leo has drawn blood there.”

I leave Brian sit­ting on the drain­ing board and, af­ter a bit of a strug­gle, in which I al­most lose a fin­ger, I man­age to un­lock Leo’s jaw from Johnny’s leg. By the time I do, Brian has fallen side­ways into the sink and now all three of them are scream­ing.

Honor sud­denly ar­rives down­stairs. She’s like, “Oh my God, what is go­ing on? I’m try­ing to troll Demi Lo­vato and I can hordly hear my­self think.”

I’m like, “Your mother has got a job, Honor. She’s go­ing to be a Some­thing Some­thing Some­thing in LinkedIn.”

Honor’s there, “LinkedIn? Who’s go­ing to be look­ing af­ter us?”

Sor­cha goes, “Your father will be fill­ing the role of home­maker for the fore­see­able fu­ture.”

And Honor’s like, “Oh my God, we’re all go­ing to be taken into care.”

Yeah, no, my thoughts pre­cisely.

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