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Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: ‘Andrea Shotton called me maskier than thou,’ Sorcha goes

We’re high-fiving over dodging Omicron. It shows you how far the bor has been lowered

Sorcha says we dodged it.

And I’m like, “What are you banging on about?”

"I'm talking about Omicron!" she goes. "It's, like, literally everywhere! But through daily antigen testing, mask-wearing and essentially cutting ourselves off from all human contact since the end of the summer, we've managed to reach the midpoint of the winter without actually getting it! Go us!"

She holds up her hand for a high-five.


I'd never leave anyone hanging – it's a pure point of principle with me – but I'm there, "Seriously? We're high-fiving for this?"

It just shows you how far the bor of human happiness has been lowered.

She goes, "I'm not being smug, Ross, but Andrea Shotton called me 'maskier than thou' when I told her husband that he should cover his nose and mouth if he's going to stand in the queue for Scrumdiddly's, and now their entire family has it! And obviously that's not victim-blaming?"

Her phone all of a sudden beeps – it’s, like, a text message.

"Oh my God," she goes, "speak of the devil!"

I’m there, “Is it her? What does she want?”

"She says if Ross is going to Dalkey, could he pick her up a few essentials? Just bread and milk."

"Well, that's her tough S, H, One, T, because we're not going out."

"Ross, I think this is one of those rare occasions when neighbourliness is actually called for?"

“Can she not get the supermorket to deliver?”

“Er, it’s the Vico Road, Ross – you know how the residents’ association feels about randomers driving around here in vans.”

I’m there, “Are you sure we’re not doing this just to rub our family’s wellness in her face?”

Sorcha’s like, “Don’t be ridiculous, Ross. We’re doing it because, if we say no, she might think we’re sick and isolating ourselves.”

“Fine,” I go, grabbing my cor keys – anything for a quiet life.

So 15 minutes later, I'm standing in the queue in Supervalu – bread and milk in hand – when Sorcha all of a sudden rings.

I'm there, "What?" with a sense of – I think it's a word – trapperdation?

She’s there, “Andrea’s just texted again. She wants to know can you pick up sumac.”

“I thought her daughter’s name was Chhaya?” I go. “Yeah, no, with two H’s – the first one silent.”

She goes, “Sumac is a spice, Ross. Andrea says they have it in, like, Cavistons?”

I’m there, “Cavistons in Glasthule?”

And she’s like, “It’s only a 10-minute drive away, Ross.”

The word Killiney, by the way, comes from the Irish Cill Iníon Léinín, which means Town of the People with Literally no Embarrassment Gene.

As if to prove it, Sorcha rings again as I’m standing in Cavistons, tapping my cord to pay for the – yeah, no – sumac.

"Okay, don't overreact," she goes.

I’m like, “What?”

“Andrea may have mentioned on the Vico Road WhatsApp group that you were going on a mercy mission to the shops – in case anyone who’s isolating needed any basics.”

“For fock’s sake, Sorcha.”

"And Gwen Loscher wants to know if you could get her some anchovy paste?"

“Anchovy paste? Please tell me they have it in Cavistons.”

“Of course they have it in Cavistons – but the one she likes you can only get in Thyme Out in Dalkey.”

“In the name of – ”

"Ross, why are you making such a big deal of it? It's on your way home. I'll text you the name. She says it's got gorlic in it."

“Whatever,” I go.

Fifteen minutes later, I’m paying for the anchovy paste when she rings again.

“Ross,” she goes, “are you still in Cavistons?”

I’m there, “No, I’m in Thyme Out – buying anchovy paste, with focking gorlic in it, which Gwen Loscher, for some reason, considers a basic.”

"I was only asking because Joy Felton wants to know can you get her six lobsters? And before you stort losing it, Ross, her entire family has Omicron – this is a woman who calls me Howard Hughes just because I mentioned that we disinfect the soles of our children's shoes before we let them into the house."

"So this is about rubbing people's noses in it?"

“It’s called being neighbourly, Ross. And she wants to know could they cut the eyes out of the lobsters because they frighten the children. Actually, she said you’d probably have to do it because they might be too busy.”

So – yeah, no – half an hour later, I’m sitting in the cor and I’m literally picking the eyes out of half a dozen lobsters with my front door key, absolutely reeking of fish, when Sorcha rings again.

“Ross,” she goes, “are you anywhere near Foxrock?”

I’m there, “Why the fock would I be anywhere near Foxrock?”

"Okay, don't shoot the messenger," she goes. "But Liz Cannon wants to know could you swing into Thomas's and pick her up some grissini? Oh, and could you also get hibiscus and charnushka for her?"

“Will Thomas have those?”

“No, they’re her daughters, Ross. She needs someone to collect them from Killiney Dort Station at 3.10. They’ve both got negative PCRs, but make sure to open all the windows and the sunroof anyway.”

I’m there, “Maybe I’ll throw them in the boot with the focking lobsters.”

"Oh, and if you're driving past a Donnybrook Fair," she goes, "could you get Una Hananoe either a kiwano or a feijoa – whichever is the ripest?"

There ends up being – mercifully – radio silence from Sorcha for the next 20 minutes. I'm on my way to Foxrock when she rings for the fifth time.

She's there, "Ross, where are you?" and I detect a note of, I don't know, concern in her voice?

“About to turn on to Westminster Road,” I go. “By the way, how will I know Kiwano and Feijoa? I haven’t met them since they were, like, kids.”

She goes, “Forget the kiwano and the feijoa. I’ve just got a text message to say that Honor might be a close contact of a close contact of a close contact of someone who had a positive antigen test this morning. It’s probably nothing-“

I’m like, “But?”

“It means we’re going to have to isolate,” she goes, a wobble in her voice. “Oh my God, I can just picture the smug look on Andrea Shotton’s face when she finds out.”

I’m there, “So what’ll I do with the anchovy paste? And the lobsters? And the sumac?”

And she goes, “You can fock them in the sea for all I care.”