ROSS O’CAR­ROLL- KELLY

‘ Honor cops me stand­ing there, star­ing at her with my mouth open, like she’s a dog ex­plain­ing Brexit’

The Irish Times Magazine - - INDEX -

My cor has been stolen. Yeah, no, I’m talk­ing about the black X5 that I bought my­self for Christ­mas. I look out the win­dow to smile at it – some­thing I do six or seven times a day – and the thing has lit­er­ally gone. Of course, the Gords are no use. The dude on the phone goes, “Did you buy it new?”

And I’m like, “Er, I gave you my ad­dress, didn’t I?”

“Vico Road, Killiney.”

“Then you’ll know I didn’t buy it sec­ond hand. Sorry, is there some­one more se­nior I can talk to?”

I end up not hear­ing his re­ply be­cause I’m sud­denly star­ing out the win­dow at a sight that causes my blood to turn cold. The cor is com­ing up the drive­way – and Honor is be­hind the wheel.

The dude on the other end of the phone is go­ing, “Hello? Are you still there?”

But I don’t an­swer him. I can’t I’m just, like, rooted to the spot, watch­ing my 13- year- old daugh­ter ex­pertly steer the cor into the space be­tween the swing chair and her old dear’s Nis­san Leaf.

She puts the thing into pork, then kills the en­gine. I hang up on Sergeant McDumb­fock and I race out to the gor­den. Honor opens the door on the driver’s side and steps out – ex­cept she’s too small to step out. She sort of, like, drops out.

She opens the boot and storts tak­ing out shop­ping bags. And that’s when she cops me stand­ing there, star­ing at her with my mouth open, like she’s a dog ex­plain­ing Brexit.

“What the fock is your prob­lem?” she has the ac­tual cheek to go.

I’m there, “Honor, where have you been?” She holds up her bags like it should be some­how ob­vi­ous. “Er, Dun­drum,” she goes.

I’m there, “Yeah, no, I kind of guessed that. What I mean is, what do you think you’re do­ing driv­ing my cor?”

“I wanted to go shop­ping. It’s the last day of the Jan­uary sales. And you re­fused to drive me.”

“I re­fused to drive you be­cause your mother told you that you got enough for Christ­mas.”

“Who the fock is she to tell me that I got enough? Have you been in her walk- in wardrobe lately? There isn’t an inch of rail that doesn’t have some­thing hang­ing on it.”

“Okay, some­how this has turned into an ar­gu­ment over who has more clothes than who. My point is, who told you that you could drive?”

“Oh, please! The thing is au­to­matic! It prac­ti­cally drives it­self!”

It does prac­ti­cally drive it­self.

“That’s not the is­sue,” I go. “You don’t have a driver’s li­cence.”

She goes, “Of course I don’t have a driver’s li­cence! I’m 13 years old!”

“So you do see what I’m say­ing? You’re too young to be be­hind the wheel of a cor.”

“Yeah, right! I’m a bet­ter driver than your wife!”

That’s ac­tu­ally true. I know they say we praise our chil­dren too eas­ily these days but I thought the same thing when I watched her swing into the space.

“Any­way,” she goes, clos­ing the boot then at­tempt­ing to step past me, “if that’s all you have to say on the mat­ter, I’m go­ing up­stairs to try on my pur­chases”.

I de­cide to do the whole tough love thing. I ac­tu­ally raise my voice, some­thing I rarely, if ever, do to Honor.

“No,” I go, “that’s not all I have to say on the mat­ter! I want this to be the first and last time you ever do some­thing like this!”

She laughs in my face, then she says the most in­cred­i­ble thing: “The first time? Dad, I’ve been driv­ing your cors for, like, two years.”

She’s 13 now. If she’s been driv­ing for two years – well, you do the maths.

I’m like, “That can’t be true. You’re just say­ing that to shock me.”

“The first time I ever drove,” she goes, “was one Satur­day af­ter­noon when we were in Dun­drum. There was a jacket by The Kooples in BT2 that I re­ally liked ex­cept they didn’t have it in my size. But I checked on­line and they had it in Kil­dare Vil­lage.” “I don’t think I want to hear this.” “You were in Win­ter’s, or what­ever that pub is called, watch­ing the rugby. You’d asked me to mind your cor keys be­cause you were scared of los­ing them.”

“Honor, please tell me this isn’t true.”

“So I just thought, ‘ Fock it,’ and I de­cided to drive there my­self.”

“And what hap­pened?”

“Well, they had my size, but I didn’t like the colour. It kind of washed me out.”

“I’m not talk­ing about the jacket, Honor! I’m talk­ing about . . . Je­sus, did you drive on the ac­tual mo­tor­way?”

“Of course I did! What did you think I was go­ing to do? Take the back roads through Sag­gart?”

Honor has left me stand­ing there with my mouth agape many, many times in her life. But this must be the most shock­ing thing she’s ever done. Top five, def­i­nitely.

I’m there, “Honor, I wouldn’t be any kind of fa­ther if I just laughed this off. So, un­for­tu­nately for you, I’m go­ing to have to ground you.” She goes, “Ground me? You’re hi­lar­i­ous!” “I’m se­ri­ous, Honor.”

“Dad, to ground me, you’d have to tell Mom what I did. And you wouldn’t want to do that?” “Wouldn’t I? Okay, why not?”

“Be­cause that would mean hav­ing to tell her that, when­ever we go to Dun­drum on a Satur­day af­ter­noon, you let me go off by my­self while you go to the pub.”

“Only if there’s rugby on.”

“I’d re­ally turn on the tears. I’ll just tell her that, oh my God, Daddy left me all alone stand­ing out­side the pub and I had an anx­i­ety at­tack and, in a to­tal panic, I got into the cor and just drove.”

“I still reckon she’d be more an­gry with you than me.”

“I think we both know that’s a lie.”

At that ex­act sec­ond, Sor­cha steps out of the front door. She sees Honor hold­ing all her bags and she goes, “Oh my God, Ross, did you take her to Dun­drum?” Honor stares at me for a good 10 sec­onds un­til I even­tu­ally go, “Yeah, no, I did.”

And Honor fake- smiles me and goes, “That’s be­cause he’s the best daddy in the world!”

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