So we’re hanging out with people who tattoo their emotions onto their knuckles now, are we?
So we’re walking out the door, on the way to a rehearsal for Honor’s school orchestra recital in the Mansion House, when Sorcha says something that makes me wonder did I mishear her, or am I possibly even having a stroke? She’s like, “You’re not going to need your cor keys, Ross! We’re getting the bus into town!”
Honor is on it straight away. “Are you having a nervous breakdown?” she goes.
I’m there, “Honor, let me handle this. Sorcha, what the fock’s going on? You’re not making any sense.” She goes, “It’s about time that Honor experienced what it’s really like out there. She has a completely distorted view of the world and what it owes her.”
It’s obvious what this is, like, really about? Sorcha took one look at Honor’s Santa List and decided she was replacing Christmas this year with – I shit you not – Thriftmas! Which involves, apparently, making presents – and we are talking in an orts and crafts kind of way?
She said she was going to make her a diamante iPad cover using a piece of leather and the sequins from an asymmetric fastening dress that she bought from Warehouse and never wore. And a Joanne Hynes-style statement collar by embroidering and decorating a collar from just a Dunnes Stores men’s shirt.
Honor happened to overhear this conversation and refused to eat, speak or leave her room for three days. Usually, you have to wait until they’re 16 before they do that.
But we’re getting the bus into town. And I know Sorcha long enough to realise that resistance is basically futile. Honor gives it a good go, though. On the walk to the bus stop, she’s all, “Er, I have rights, you know?” which has become a bit of a catchphrase for her over the last couple of weeks. I don’t want to make light of that whole referendum business, but if Honor gets with any more rights, we’re going to end up having to pay rent to her.
We’re public transport virgins and pretty much everyone on the 46A can see it, especially from the way Sorcha hands the driver a €50 note for our three fares, takes the tickets, then sort of, lingers for a few seconds, unsure about whether she’s even entitled to change?
She has literally no idea whether the bus costs five yoyos or 50 and she’s telling Honor that she needs to spend some time in the real world! “Your change is there, love,” the driver goes, pointing at her ticket. “You have to go into Dublin Bus headquarters to cash it in.”
“Dublin Bus headquarters?” she goes. “Where’s that?” because obviously there’s no reason for people like us to know. He’s like, “O’Connell Street.” I actually laugh. I’m there, “O’Connell Street? They know no one’s going to go there! They can keep it!”
We end up having to go upstairs for a seat. Sorcha’s got her determined face on – “Non timebo mala,” as the nuns out in Goatstown used to say – while Honor has a look of disgust on her face, like she ordered duck liver parfait and got Pedigree Chum.
“Someone’s wearing Adidas aftershave,” she goes – this is at, like, the top of her voice? “Oh my God – dange!” I’m there, “Er, you should possibly keep your voice down, Honor.” She goes, “Okay – look at that man’s hands! So we’re hanging out with people who tattoo their emotions on to their knuckles now, are we? Hashtag – great parenting!”
I turn to Sorcha and I go, “I’m not sure this was such a good idea.” Sorcha goes, “She’s been living in a little fantasy world, Ross. It’s about time she saw life outside of it.” I just stare out the window and watch Stillorgan zip by.
“Oh my God,” Honor suddenly goes – this is as we’re passing UCD, “even listen to the way they speak! If I end up with a Dublin accent, I’m actually going to sue the two of you!”
This continues for another few stops, until eventually the woman sitting directly in front of us turns around and goes, “I’m sorry, do you have any control over what comes out of your daughter’s mouth?” I’m like, “Very little,” because I find if you’re straight with people, they might end up even feeling sorry for you. I mean, we have to actually live with this girl? Except Sorcha takes immediate offence. She’s all, “Excuse me?” flexing her neck like she’s Kelly Rowland.
“Your daughter,” the woman goes, “is a horrible, obnoxious little madam.” I actually think that’s a pretty spot-on analysis. She’s calling it, in fairness to her – that’s something I’ve always respected. But Sorcha’s on the straight away defensive.
She’s there, “What business is it of yours anyway?” You can see where Honor gets her tude from.
The woman’s like, “This was a happy, peaceful bus journey until you walked on,” and then, roysh, all of a sudden there’s, like, a cheer from all the other – you’d have to say – commuters? You know that moment when you suddenly realise that you’ve lost the room?
It’s the dude with the Love Hate knuckles who storts the chant. It’s like, “Off! Off! Off!” and soon everyone on the entire upper deck is, like, chanting it. “Off! Off! Off!”
The driver pulls in at Donnybrook and comes upstairs. He doesn’t even ask what’s going on. He just points at us and goes, “Off!”
There’s, like, a huge roar from everyone as we stand up and take the walk of shame downstairs. Sorcha’s in, like, tears. Even I’m a bit embarrassed, it has to be said.
Honor’s delighted. This is what she wanted, of course. “Oh my God!” she goes, as she steps off the bus. “Hilare! Now let’s get a taxi. Not that one, though. I’m not getting into a Hyundai.”