Honor’s hangover is so bad, I can pretty much hear it – it’s a sort of low, rhythmic, thrumming sound, like a swarm of bees on the other side of a door. She shuffles into the kitchen without saying a word, opens the fridge, sees nothing in there that pleases her, mutters something about how she hates living in this house, then slams the fridge door closed again.
Of course, all I can do is laugh.
"It looks like spirits don't agree with someone," I go. "You definitely don't take after your grandmother. I've seen that woman drink turpentine and still be sober enough to shoot 54 for nine holes in Foxrock the next morning."
Sorcha gives me a look that could put out a chip pan fire.
"Ross," she goes, "our teenager daughter was drunk last night and that's all you have to say to her?"
I’m like, “Let’s not overreact here, Sorcha.”
“She’s 15, Ross!”
“Yeah, no, you weren’t much older when you storted yourself, in fairness.”
“I’m just making the point. Didn’t you tell me once that you had a mouthful of snakebite when you did the Model Oireachtas in Transition Year and spewed in the hood of your Helly Hansen?”
Honor turns her head like she's turning the Stena Estrid. She looks at her old dear and goes, "Oh my God, you are such a focking hypocrite."
It looks like she's a cranky drunk – in that way, she does take after her grandmother.
"Jesus," I go, "I can nearly feel your hangover from here, Honor. I went out with a nutritionist once – me and you were on a break, Sorcha – and she was a big believer in, like, stabilising your electrolytes. Bananas and avocados were her thing. She ended up doing the dirt on me with a Leinster Academy player who was supposed to be the next Shane Jennings, even though he ended up just working for William Fry. "
“What, so we’re just going to discuss hangover cures, are we?” Sorcha goes. “We’re not going to talk to our daughter about the dangers of, like, underage drinking?”
I’m there, “What would be the point, Sorcha? I dare say she’s learned her lesson. Are you ever going to drink again, Honor?”
“No. Focking. Way,” she goes.
I’m like, “There are you then – job’s a good ‘un! Mind you, we all say that, don’t we?”
Sorcha takes out the frying pain, then storts – like, literally? – chopping onions on the island
Honor’s there, “I need to lie down.”
But Sorcha’s like, “You’re not going anywhere, Honor. We have to watch the film.”
It turns out that she's talking about The New Normal, the post-lockdown video that Mount Anville sent around in advance of the school reopening tomorrow?
Honor goes, “I’m not watching it.”
I’m there, “I’ll watch it for you, Honor, and give you the bullet points after you’ve had another sleep. You’re probably still half-mullered.”
Sorcha puts the laptop down on the table and pulls out a chair. "Sit! Down!" she goes, in a voice that says she's in no mood for joking. "If the school went to the trouble of commissioning Deloitte to make this video, then you are going to watch it! Ross, you can sit down as well!"
So we end up having to do what we're basically told. Sorcha clicks on the link. It opens with, like, classical music – Pachelbel's Canon, in all fairness – and a woman's voice, soft and reassuringly South Dublin, going, "Fáilte ar ais from Mount Anville Secondary School! We're looking forward to seeing you again! Just a few more sleeps to go!"
Sorcha takes out the frying pain, then storts – like, literally? – chopping onions on the island.
I’m like, “What are you doing?”
Sorcha’s there, “I’m just making myself an omelette.”
“Er, are you not watching this as well?”
"I've already seen it, Ross. You see, I'm interested in being an actual parent to our daughter, rather than just a best mate."
She cracks two eggs into a cup and storts, like, beating them.
I’m there, “There’s nothing wrong with being both – right, Honor?”
“Fock off, Dad,” Honor goes. “I already nauseous.”
“We have divided the school into four zones,” the woman on the screen goes. “Barat, Chadwick, Dorgan and Duchesne. You should have received in the post a colour-coded tag – please hang this from your rearview mirror to enable our team of cor pork attendants to direct you to your pre-assigned zone.”
Sorcha throws the onions into the pan, then pours in the eggs, then she storts grating some – again, literally – Pormagiano-Reggiano? Honor slaps her hand over her mouth. The smell is Pádraig focking Pearse, it has to be said.
“When entering the cor pork,” the woman on the video goes, “all parents or childminders should drive straight ahead. If it’s possible for students to exit the car safely without bringing the vehicle to a complete stop, this would be very helpful in ensuring a good flow of traffic.”
Sorcha throws a load of chopped tomatoes into the pan and they stort sizzling.
Honor's like, "Dad, I'm actually going to vom."
It's too much for Honor. She's like a volcano about to blow
I’m there, “Sorcha, would you not have, like, muesli or something?”
Honor storts, like, dry retching? She's like, "Yeughk… Yeughk… Yeughk…"
“While observing social distancing,” the woman on the video goes, “a Hall Monitor will be there to greet your child. Students will be encouraged to sanitise their hands, then they will make their way to their pre-allocated zone by following the dotted lines. Before they meet their pre-allocated friends, they will be asked to place their schoolbags on a green spot, place their hands on their heads and take five steps backwards…”
“Jesus, Sorcha,” I go, “have you got the pan up too high?” because the smell of burning onions and egg and Pormagiano-Reggiano and tomatoes is suddenly overwhelming.
It’s too much for Honor. She’s like a volcano about to blow. I go to jump out of the way, except she grabs a hold of my wrist and then she just, like, explodes, throwing up everywhere, all over the laptop, all over the table, all over the floor and all over the Rossmeister General himself.
Sorcha scrapes the contents of the pan into the bin and goes, “I’ve actually gone off the idea of an omelette.”
Honor’s like, “You did that on purpose… Oh my God, Dad, I’m going to get sick again!”
And Sorcha goes, "I'll leave you to clean that up, Ross – seeing as she's your mate and everything."