Domestic Drama: Wolverine ties up our landline with her counselling service
Aoife really needs support right now, the Wolverine says piously, hanging up the phone after the latest 16-hour misery marathon.
She really needs her friends to be there for her, your daughter adds in a holy voice, as her long-suffering father heaves a sigh of relief and scurries to make an urgent call to the States.
You sigh. You'd love to inquire why the Wolverine can't be there for her friend on her very own state-of-the-art touchscreen mobile phone, and not tie up the landline for hours on end, but of course you don't.
After much initial campaigning for a mobile phone and after years of throwing every red cent she has into the great black hole called pay-as-you-go credit, the Wolverine has finally -- and with no small reluctance -- come to the conclusion that the landline, though infinitely less cool, is, well, cheaper.
Of late, poor Aoife has needed a lot of consolation and sisterly support, hence the long hours of muttering on the phone in the hall facing the wall for greater privacy and scowling at anybody who passes.
What's wrong with Aoife, you inquire, figuring that as she who pays the piper, the very least you should get is to hear the tune.
Oh the Wolverine couldn't break a confidence, because it's, well -- here her voice lowers and thickens with relish -- a serious family issue. To do with Aoife's Mum, actually.
Oh, you inquire encouragingly.
Jeez, Ma, you're so nosy! She's not going to say anything, except that it's sort of to do with Aoife's 's Mum's job and that's about it.
But things are very stressful right now, because, well, it looks like the job . . . well, let's just say the Wolverine absolutely needs to be there.
Just as, you reflect sardonically, she absolutely needed to be there following the death of Pauline's dog, and the mysterious disappearance to Scotland of Fiona's Dad -- all major crises which necessitated untold hours of adolescent counselling at your expense.
The Wolverine, who, you would not be at all surprised to see stepping over your battered dead body, or even on it, in order to select the very best halter top for the non-alcoholic junior disco, has infinite sympathy for her friends. She worries about them constantly, and can often be seen walking around with a preoccupied frown creasing her forehead.
There's a pause.
Right, you say, flexing your tired shoulders, the laundry needs sorting, you've had a long day at work and you're really, really whacked.
The Wolverine sniffs and casts you a cool glance as she exits the kitchen.
Ma, you're not the only mother in the country who has to work outside the home. Jeez, like.