‘ There’s a girl who works in the Bai­ley. And be­fore you say any­thing, me and you were on a break at the time’

The Irish Times Magazine - - FASHION -

Sor­cha has de­cided she needs an en­tire new work wardrobe, so into town we go. I throw the cor into the Stephen’s Green Shop­ping Cen­tre cor pork, then down the es­ca­la­tors we come: me at the front, hold­ing the triplets on their lead, while they bork and snorl like feral dogs; Sor­cha two steps be­hind me, apol­o­gis­ing to the other shop­pers for our chil­dren’s lan­guage; then Honor, seven or eight steps fur­ther back, tex­ting on her phone.

When we reach the ground floor, I stort head­ing in the di­rec­tion of the main en­trance, but Sor­cha wants to go out the back door. I’m like, “Er, that makes no sense. We’re go­ing to BTs. It’s through the front door and straight down Grafton Street.”

She goes, “I don’t want to walk past Benet­ton, Ross.”

“Why not?”

“There’s a girl who works in there who I was in UCD with and when­ever I meet her it’s just, like, weird.” “Weird in what way?”

“Yeah, no, we’re re­ally, re­ally good friends on Face­book – as in, she al­ways gives me Likes for pho­tos I put up, and vice- versa – but when­ever we ac­tu­ally meet, we never know what to say to each other. It’s, like, so awk­ward.”

“What,” I go, “so you’re go­ing to spend the rest of your life never walk­ing past Benet­ton in case she sees you?”

“Don’t be ridicu­lous, Ross. I check her LinkedIn page ev­ery two or three days to see has she moved jobs yet.”

“How long has this been go­ing on?”

“Three- and- a- half years. Ross, can we just go out the back door with­out you mak­ing a ma­jor deal out of it?”

I tell her fine – what­ever. Then out the back door we go on to South King Street.

“I don’t know why you’re pulling that face,” Sor­cha goes, as the boys drag me – swear­ing like dock­work­ers – to­wards the top of Grafton Street. “The walk is ex­actly the same length whether we go through the shop­ping cen­tre or not?”

And that’s when I sud­denly stop walk­ing.

“I’ve just re­mem­bered,” I go, “we can’t walk past the Dis­ney Store.”

Sor­cha’s like, “Why not?”

“Er, be­cause the last time we were in there, the triplets smashed an eight- foot- high Chew­bacca into about a mil­lion pieces and I left with­out pay­ing for the dam­age.” “You did what?”

“Hey, my old man says that rich peo­ple not pay­ing for the things they broke is the rock on which the Celtic Phoenix was built.”

“What, so you can never walk down Grafton Street again?”

“Of course I can. I just have to avoid that lit­tle sec­tion of it.”

I whip out my phone and I call up Google maps. We stand in the door­way of Zara and we stort plot­ting a route to BTs that by­passes the top of Grafton Street.

“I’ve got it,” I go. “We can head straight down South Wil­liam Street as far as Wick­low Street and come at BTs from the other di­rec­tion.”

But, straight away, Sor­cha sees a prob­lem. She goes, “I can’t walk that far down South Wil­liam Street. I don’t want to pass Brown Sugar.”

I’m like, “The rea­son be­ing?”

“Be­cause I went some­where else to get my hair done this month. I didn’t have time to come into town. And if my reg­u­lar hair­dresser sees me, she’ll no­tice that I have no root growth and she’ll know I went some­where else?”

“Okay,” I go, look­ing at the map again – and it sud­denly brings me back to my rugby days when I used to have to think strate­gi­cally to find a way through op­po­si­tion de­fences.

I’m tempted to say, once a 10, al­ways a 10!

“Okay,” I go, “we can take Claren­don Street, then cut down Chatham Street.”

Honor de­cides to pipe up then. “I can’t walk down Chatham Street,” she goes. “They’ve been hold­ing a neck­lace for me in Loulerie since June and they keep ring­ing me ev­ery week to check that I def­i­nitely still want it.”

“Okay,” I go, “why don’t we take Chatham Row on to Claren­don Street, then cut through the West­bury Mall.”

“I want to avoid the whole West­bury Mall area,” Sor­cha goes. “I tried to re­turn a pair of bur­gundy gloves to Paula Rowan about six months ago be­cause they turned out to be a dif­fer­ent shade of bur­gundy to my bur­gundy coat. But they re­fused to take them be­cause they could tell I’d worn them a few times. Ross, I’d be too em­bar­rassed to see them again.”

I’m think­ing, okay, what would Johnny Sex­ton do? He’d find a way through in, like, five sec­onds.

I’m there, “Why don’t we take Drury Street, as far as Castle­mor­ket Street, then hit Cop­pinger Row.” Sor­cha goes, “We can’t go near Cop­pinger Row be­cause Honor was mean to that girl who did her Viny­lux nails in Fifth Av­enue. She made her cry, Ross.”

“Then we’ll take Drury Street all the way to Wick­low Street-.”

“We can’t take Wick­low Street. Have you for­got­ten the in­ci­dent with the boys in Mur­phy’s Ice Cream?” “We could avoid Mur­phy’s by turn­ing on to An­drew Street, then tak­ing Suf­folk Street.”

“I can’t go near Suf­folk Street. I or­dered a pic­nic ham­per from Avoca dur­ing the sum­mer and I never paid for it or col­lected it. Okay, can I sug­gest a route?” “Hey,” I go, “I was the one who played out­half, but go on.”

She’s there, “It’s kind of a long way around, but we could take Stephen Street as far as Ge­orge’s Street, then walk to the bot­tom of Ge­orge’s, turn right onto Dame Street, then go through Col­lege Green and right onto Grafton Street. Oh, hang on, I can’t pass Weir’s.” “Er, why?”

“I was asked to leave be­cause the boys were spit­ting on the dis­play glass. Okay, in­stead of com­ing at Grafton Street from that end, we’ll keep go­ing along Nas­sau Street, then turn right onto Daw­son Street, then turn right again onto Duke Street-.” “I can’t go near Duke Street,” I go. “There’s a girl who works in the Bai­ley. And be­fore you say any­thing, Sor­cha, me and you were on a break at the time.” Honor looks up from her phone then. “I’ve got the per­fect so­lu­tion,” she goes.

I’m like, “Let’s hear it, Honor.” She’s there, “Let’s all just go home.”

Me and Sor­cha ex­change a look. And in that mo­ment, we both know that it’s the best plan any­one is go­ing to come up with to­day.

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