IMG_8099 (1)As mother rants go it’s pretty spectacular. It starts with a little sentence that can serve no useful end. Even as I begin to form the words I know I should stop. But they tumble out anyway. I have a captive, sleepy-eyed audience. It’s 8.35. The last one has just joined us in the car after an excessive tooth brushing session. We’re later than ever, which is saying something.
‘Do you know what my own mother used to have to do to get me off to school?’ There. It’s out. And I feel better already. Something is released in me, an endorphin or a drop of oxytocin. I’m about to enjoy myself.
‘Nothing’ I say to my unresponsive audience. ‘Nothing at all. I got my uniform ready the night before, organised my lunch, packed my bag, set my alarm’.
‘That’s because…’ someone says but isn’t allowed to continue. I’ve only just begun.
‘In fact the only thing she had to do was sign my homework notebook. And do you think she had to go looking for it, like I do? No, I’d hand it to her, when all the homework was done. She didn’t even need to check’.
‘That’s because…’
‘Do you know what time I get up in the morning to try to get you all to school on time? 6.15. And here we are, late again, after I’ve done everything, every little thing for you’.
‘It’s because you do everything for us…’
‘And I used to get the bus, no-one ferrying me to school…’
‘We’d love to get the bus, if only you’d let us’.
‘You’re too little to get the bus. And I used to always be early for school, early, and here I am now after being up for two and a half hours, late as hell…’
‘That’s because you get us up too late’. Oh yes. The blame game. Now where do they get that from?
‘I get you up late because you’re going to bed too late and I don’t want you falling asleep in school’. They’re onto something, of course, but I can’t let on. I hate waking them in the morning. Always have. Always will. It seems like I’m starting the day with a little act of cruelty when I stand over their snores and then try to cajole them out of their beautiful slumber with pet names. Time to toughen up. Which is exactly what I’m doing now.
‘You need to start doing more for yourselves when it comes to getting ready for school, for your own good, so you can learn independence’.
‘But you’re always doing everything for us, every time I look at you you’re busy doing something for us, but if you just stopped we’d be able to do it for ourselves’. True. Verging on cheeky, but true. I have a saying, get out of their way and let them show you. Which plays out well in all arenas except when it comes to the high rising blood pressure of school. I’m embroiled. Hovering over homework. Scrubbing lunch boxes. Cursing lunches. Laundering uniforms. Producing matching socks, magically, on occasion. Down to the very last detail. I’m up to my martyred neck in it.
Marque 3 and marque 4 are thick as thieves now, backing one another up with their line that if only I’d get out of the way they’d be doing it all for themselves. Marque 5 must be picking up on the hint of a gang up and chimes in, every few seconds, with ‘I love you Mum’. Which works a treat as I then try to turn it all positive.  We’re about a minute from the school. I’d better be quick. I compliment marque 4 on how he has everything organised in his bedroom and I bet he’d be able to do some of the stuff for himself for school. I say how marque 5 is always up first and ready, and I bet he’d be able to prepare his clothes and some of his lunch the night before. I screech to a halt. We’re out of time. Marque 3 does not get a positive light shone upon him. Which is a shame as he is naturally the most organised of us all. He always knows where everything is. Always has his homework done without any help at all. He is organised and motivated and happy, but easily bruised by a ranting perfectionistic streaked mother who fails to acknowledge the abundance of good little things in all the chaos. As he walks ahead of us, something he never does, the guilt kicks in. Because the flip side of a rant is always guilt. We usually banter and chat all the way to the school. Today he strides ahead, hood up, even though it’s not raining. Protecting himself. The impulse to run up after him, to dish him a bit of a compliment before he faces into a long day at school is strong in me. But I let him go. Adding a mortification onto what ever he is currently feeling probably wouldn’t help at all. Later, I tell myself. I’ll remember to compliment him later.

I chastise myself all day. I’m very good at it. How could I send them off like that? Why didn’t I just stop myself when the sneaky little comparative voice began to rattle? What could possibly be gained from making them feel bad about themselves before school? That they’re not quite reaching the standards I set for myself as a child? Why didn’t they just go ahead and say ‘well we can’t all be goody two-shoes like you’? I know well that I can’t compare the two situations. Different times. Different constraints. Different challenges. It makes no sense, whatsoever, to say they should be more like I was. I’m so glad that they’re not more like I was.

They emerge from their labours in good form. There’s no trace of rant residue in their little faces. And yet. They do their homework quickly and well without much prompting. By night time marque 5 is down with a chest infection and I’m lying down upstairs with him. Fast breathing, inhaler using sick. He tosses and turns and coughs and wakes. It takes an age before he settles. I’m going back downstairs thinking about all there is to be done to prepare for tomorrow. I’m greeted by marque 4 on the stairs.
‘I’ve made my lunch and packed my bag for tomorrow’ he says. In the hall his luminous green bag lies. Right by the front door, ready. In the sitting room I find marque 3, folding up his uniform for the morning.
‘I just need a tie’ he says ‘oh and I’ve made my lunch’.
In the morning I get up later than usual. There’s not that much for me to do. A full half hour before I’m due to wake them, they emerge. Marque 4, it turns out, has set an alarm. They get dressed straight away without a single word from me. I hover redundantly while they busy themselves with breakfast. At this rate I could sneak back to bed for a bit. It must be a dream I’m having. We arrive at the school so early – 8.30  – that the doors aren’t anywhere near to being open yet. They’ll have to kill time with their friends as they wait to be let in. This has never, ever, happened before. I drive off with marque 5, and on the journey I see the people who are regularly on time for school making their way. We’re going in the opposite direction. It’s a enough of a thrill to last for a while. Even if this is a once-off. As their father said, laughing, before leaving the house this morning ‘be careful what you say to them, they obviously listen’. Indeed. A good old mother rant doesn’t do any harm, it seems, after all.



IMG_7901 (1)There’s a whole new world to discover thanks to having to do without for a while. The car has been dropping hints for a few months now. Little warnings. We can’t say that she didn’t try. Lovely loyal car. She may start or just make a clicking sound when the key turns in the ignition. Then if we jiggle and wiggle the keys about a bit she jumps into life. On Christmas Eve I pop to Tesco’s for a last minute thing. The neighbours. We’ve forgotten to buy chocolates for them. So I zoom up, get them, jump back into the car, turn the key, nothing. I jiggle and wiggle and curse myself for taking this last trip. I’ll be stuck in Tesco’s for Christmas now. I’m talking to myself, obviously. It’s dark out and it’s cold and the car is going click and the dash is lighting up but that’s it. Then a very large round bellied man appears. He’s walking towards the car with his trolley looking very concerned. I roll the window down.
‘Is the battery flat?’ he asks.
‘Ah no, it’s just the ignition barrel or the starter motor’ I say bamboozling myself with my lingo.
‘It’ll start any second now. You see all I have to do is wiggle the keys a bit’. He’s looking even more worried and incredulous now. Poor deluded woman he seems to be saying.
‘I think you’ll need a push to get out of here’ he says.
‘But you’re not in a great position there’ he says looking at the shop window and how it’s a bit close for comfort. Typical. I can’t even get myself into the right position for a push. I jiggle and I wiggle. I think of the consequences of it not starting. Tonight of all nights. With the collecting, stashing, ferrying and dispersing yet to be done. I think of the kind, large, round bellied man standing beside me, patiently, waiting to lend a hand. I whip the keys out, shove them back in again and presto. We’re off. I wave at him. He winks back. Santa Claus, without his suit and beard.

We learn not a jot from it. We cheekily head off in the storms, Westwards, for New Years’s Eve. Wiggling, jiggling. On beaches in the freezing cold. Launching Christmas drones into the sky. Building a bridge, all five, team working it into existence. Clinking glasses, all seven of us, at midnight in the hotel bar.

What happens in the end could’ve happened at any stage and mucked things up royally for us. But she waits until it’s not going to have maximum impact. She doesn’t leave us stranded on a remote beach, frozen to the bone. Nor in an underground carpark with the kids waiting at the school gate. It’s Friday night. We’re all home safely. The briquettes are bought and the fire is lit. I’m heading out to meet an old friend. I’m being given a lift. She chooses this moment to say no. No I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been telling you and telling you. And I know you’re so busy and it’s hard to be without me but it’s time. I need some attention. I’m no spring chicken and things are beginning to ceaze. Somebody has to fix me. Please. I hear you, I say, heading off on foot, getting the phone out to text my ever punctual pal about a slight tardiness. Until a dimly lit taxi zooms me down quicker than I can say shagging starter motor.

It’s a birthday weekend and that’s just fine because I have everything done before the car goes kaput. Down to the flowers. I always buy bunches of flowers for my birthday boys, in the colours that I think they are. Yellow roses and fresh daffodils pepper the sitting room for marque 3. Today he gets his first shot at symmetry. The big 11. He wakes up though with a headache. Ah god. The excitement I think, until he says he feels a bit sick too and carts himself bathroom-wards for the inevitable. It’s with a bit of a sinking feeling that we go about cancelling things. It’s all done by lunch time. We’ve asked that no-one calls in, in case he’s infectious. We cancel the little party for the next day. Then he wakes from a doze and starts to chat and doesn’t stop. He is chirpy as hell from that moment on. No sign of a bug. Maybe it was the excitement after all.
The weekly shop turns into a walk, one bag a piece. They rise to it, all hands on deck, bantering and noticing the little things along the way. Early turf fire smells perfume the Sunday evening air. The town is alive and well and we shop thriftily so as not to over burden the young arms. We shop, as it happens, far better than usual. Selecting only what we will need. We bus home, buzzing all the way.

Their nanny offers to come over for the school run on Monday morning. She arrives at six o’clock and narrowly misses setting off the house alarm. I can hear her handbrake being wrenched up in my slumber and get to the door before she can. Such is the novelty of going in nanny’s car to school that I only have to whisper to wake them. They jump out of bed and get ready in jig time. We arrive at the school before the doors open. A rare treat for us all.

I’m walking and busing and paying attention to things that when cosseted in the car I’d miss. Strangers open up and chat when they bump into you walking, slightly weighed down with groceries. They sidle over at crossing lights to share snippets. A grandmother pushing a buggy. Slim, permed puffy 80s long hair, drawn on eyebrows, bright red lips, smiling at me. She mentions how cold it is and then laughs.
‘She wanted choc-ices in the shops just now. That’s all she wanted. Nothing else. In this weather’ she says pointing to the toddler in the buggy and laughing. We cross the road and she veers off diagonally to the house where the ice-creams will be devoured. A mini heart-warming interaction that I’d have otherwise driven past.

Then there’s a mini heart-breaking scene. I’m early for the school pick-up. I’m sauntering along as a deep green Jaguar XType slides past me. I think of how my eldest son would love the sight of it. By the time I reach the school this car is in the middle of the road and the elderly owner – a man in his seventies – is shouting at another man. The other man is out of his old small silver car. He has a walking stick and he is much older than the shouting man. Older. Smaller. Frailer. Heading for ninety. He has, it seems, clipped the side of the Jag. It’ll need painting the Jag man shouts. Spray paint? the ninety year old man enquires, quietly, shaking in the cold and with the shock of it all. No, not spray paint the Jag man says, tutting, shaking his head. I need your name and details. The road is getting choked up with parents in cars. The old old man makes towards his car. I live just down here, opposite the school, come to the house to get my details, the older old man says. I will, I will, I’ll get in with you, the old man says, nodding ferociously. As if he thinks the old old man is about to do a runner. He jumps into the silver car, all fury and indignation. Leave him alone, I want to shout out. The older old man is so shaken and shocked that he doesn’t seem to know how to drive off. With full force fury sitting beside him, he makes his car screech out in pain.

Being wide awake to all around me, good and bad, sends me into a sort of peaceful euphoria. Accidentally paying attention to the present moment and all that’s going on has lulling appeal. More than that, my own interactions with others are sharper, more focused. I’m no longer forcing myself out of the car, half asleep, and trudging around to the school with my eye firmly on just getting them all back home. By the time I reach the school I’ve had a myriad of mini encounters, engagements with an array of other fully awake non slumbering types. It feels as if I’ve just worked out the benefits of exercise (an unlikely scenario) and I want to convert. I’m walking around in wide-eyed wonder, as if I’ve just been let out of an institution. The 46A bus driver is coincidentally the same each
day. He gets to know us, smiles at us as we run to catch the bus, waits patiently, undercharges. He gets it. This wide awake kids on an adventure thing. He winks at us to let us know. When we get home we feel we have achieved something. The mood in the house reflects it back to us.

So we resolve to ditch the car every so often in the future. It’s not a green thing. It’s about the necessity to be fully awake once in a while. There’s a lot to be said for sudden exposure to the elements, walking on numb toes and holding bags with crumpled blue white fingers. There’s so much more of ourselves and others to be experienced when we’re not cosseted in old metal.


The whisk

IMG_8019It’s Sunday morning and marque 1 has asked if he can make the pancakes. A heavenly request which signals my escape back upstairs with two mugs of freshly brewed coffee.
‘Don’t forget the strawberries’ I say to him, but he’s already on it, washing and chopping, ready to throw them into the mix.
‘Can I help?’ marque 5 enquires and marque 1 hands him an egg to crack. I can’t watch. Let them at it. A little egg shell never did anyone a bit of harm.
‘I think I’ll use the new whisk this time’ marque 1 announces.
‘Would that be ok Mum?’
Ah yes, the new whisk.
He sets about getting it out of the box. It’s something he spotted in Power City one evening and he told me we really needed it. I couldn’t imagine why.
Then he starts to laugh.
‘It was so funny in class the other day’ he says.
‘We were watching ads from the 50s and there was an ad about an electric whisk and at the end it said
WOMEN, KNOW YOUR LIMITS’, and he chuckles on, as I do now too.
‘Yeah Mum, know your limits’ marque 5 says, joining in, thinking he’s adding to the joke. On cue, the blood begins to simmer.
‘Can you explain the ad to your 6 year old brother, why it’s funny now and why what he’s just said certainly is not?’ I say, huffing off, leaving marque 1, whisk in hand, with that indecipherable task.
I’ve a foot on the stairs.
‘You mustn’t ever say ‘know you limits’ to Mum or any other woman’ he says.
‘Why not?’
‘Because it’s sexism’.
Good man.
‘What does sexism mean?’
‘You’ll have to ask mummy about that’.
Darn. He was doing so well.
‘Mu-um, what’s sexism?’ he shouts after me. It doesn’t seem right now, all of a sudden, to be delving into hot debates with small children on a Sunday morning. Even his uttering the word sexism. I’m a little uncomfortable with that. And if I get started now who’s to say I’ll be able to stop? Then where will my sneaky luxurious read in bed be? Gone for another week.
‘Just get on with making the pancakes’ I say, scarpering up the stairs.

It’s tricky, the sexism thing. I was lucky to be brought up by an independently minded gender equality campaigning mother. By a father who loved to cook magnificent garlic fuelled dinners and always did our school lunches. I studied sociology with feminist critiques and deconstructions of everything. Now we’re raising an all male family and I’ve noticed something that my background didn’t prepare me for. A sort of benign aesthetic societal sexism towards boys. The flip-side of a benign aesthetic societal bias towards girls. Benign but irritating all the same. And it’s the kids that are picking up on it. Promoting it even. Marque 5 for example.
‘Why do women have much nicer voices than boys?’ he asks as we walk down Killiney Hill.
‘They don’t’ I say, gruffly, to prove the point.
‘But why do women have much longer eye-lashes than boys?’
‘They don’t’ I say, eyeing his sweep the floor dark lashes. They just cheat a little, that’s all, I think, batting my mascara clumps in the wind.
‘Yeah, but why do women have longer hair than boys?’
‘Some do, some don’t’ I say, throwing a couple of my cropped friends at him as examples. Then pointing at his brothers walking ahead of us, their hair flowing back, just a tad, behind them.
‘Yeah, but why do women wear dresses and boys don’t?’
So I find myself wittering on about Scottish men in their skirts.
‘Yeah, but in our world they don’t do skirts for boys so guess what?’
‘This world is never going to do skirts for boys, they won’t allow it’.
Who’s the they? How come he’s feeling restricted by an invisible they already. He’s only six. I’m wondering if it’s too soon to introduce the notion of trannies. Offer a little flexibility on his horizon. As he interprets the world, there’s a fairer sex amongst us and it’s not, well, fair. Not in his book. He appreciates aesthetically, but he wants to join in.

We’re at a party and the theme being trumpeted at the kids table is that girls are better than boys. By a girl. Amidst a load of boys. Brazen enough. She makes her points, chantingly. Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider. Enlightened stuff. The boys listen or half listen, politely or disinterestedly, not sure really, until one little boy can contain himself no longer.
‘Have you read the Bible?’
‘God made Eve out of a rib from Adam. So if it wasn’t for boys, girls wouldn’t exist’. Uncomfortable silence. Time for an adult to intervene and encourage a neutral stance? Or stand back and let it emerge, our usual mode, which is much more fun.
‘Jesus was a boy. Jesus died for us. God is a boy’. He seems to think think that will be an end to the chanting, and takes another fork full of food.
‘Mary’ she says. ‘Mary’s a girl’.
‘Mary?’ he asks with an are you kidding me look about his raised brow.
‘Sure she didn’t even know who the father was’. Oh dear. I sweep in distracting them with ‘more 7up anyone?’. The silly game dissipates for now, but it plays on societally as it always has. As parents and guides to our children it’s incumbent upon us to demonstrate an appreciation of both sexes, and to hurl a few grenades at the sugar & spice /slugs & snails stereotypes when possible. I take a slurp of my coffee and wonder how he’s getting on downstairs with the new whisk. Perhaps he’ll show me how to use it some day.


Alarm bells

IMG_7892It’s the eve of the installation and I’m busy tidying for the man who will arrive to secure our home. We’ve become tired, lately, of scurrying around grabbing things that may or may not be pleasing to a burglar. Stashing them in the car. Rummaging around for them later to disperse back around the house.

There’s a knock on the door.
‘He’s here’ marque 4 squeals running to open the door.
‘Who’s here?’
‘The alarm man’.
‘But he’s not due to come ’til tomorrow‘ I say following marque 4 and my sister to the door. He stands there sporting the company’s jacket. An I.D. badge swings from his neck. He announces that he is doing door to door sales and wonders if we’d be interested in an alarm.
‘But we’ve ordered it already’ I say looking at him as if he surely knows this.
‘Oh ok’ he says ‘just we’ve a good deal going at the moment’.
‘Yes, I got the deal, that’s why we’re doing it’ I say. Touche.
‘We’ve a better deal than the deal you got’ he says even though I haven’t mentioned the price. He tells me my deal price and then undercuts it by €100.

All of a sudden there’s a lot more allure to the man in the brand new company jacket, shivering on my unlit doorstep. One hundred euros. Coming up to Christmas. Nice one.
‘But I’ve booked already and they’re coming in the morning’.
‘Have you signed a contract?’
‘No, not yet’.
‘Then you can cancel it, re-order with me and I’ll get an installer out as soon as possible, maybe even tomorrow. I can come in and discuss this all further with you’, he says. One hundred euros. Cold and dark outside.
‘Come on in’ I say.
‘Nice area’ he says entering the house. There’s something niggling at me as I show him into the sitting room.
‘I live in a mansion meself’ he continues.
‘You do?’ one or other of the sisters says as the niggling frizzes away.
‘Yeah. I don’t do this for the money’, he continues.
‘You don’t?’ There’s a door to door salesman in our sitting-room saying he isn’t working for money. The niggling is now frying my already frayed brain cells.
‘No. I do it for the people. For the love of knowing they are secure’.
‘Oh? How long have you been doing it?’ this vocation, this passion.
‘Three weeks’. Oh god.
‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ my sister asks.
‘Yes, milk and one sugar, thanks’.
Wow, I think. Shouldn’t he have declined that offer. Sugar? We don’t have sugar. Or maybe a bit of old congealed caster sugar for baking. That’ll have to do.
Marque 4 sets to making the tea with me in the kitchen. When we bring it back in there’s a different atmosphere in the room. My sister seems to have lost her enthusiasm for helping me to save €100. He hasn’t noticed and continues talking. Talking. Non-stop.
‘I’ve met a lot of burglars since I’ve been knocking on doors doing this and they…’
‘You’ve been talking to burglars about the alarm system?’
‘Yeah, you know and…’
‘How do you know they’re burglars – do they tell you?’ my sister asks.
‘Ah you just know, by the houses, by the clothes an’ all’.
Do you now. The niggling is beginning to turn into some form of behind the eye-ball blind panic. I have before me a guy purporting to be a wealthy salesman who sells alarms to burglars. An image of my husband’s face flashes before me. He doesn’t look best pleased.
‘I’ve never been burgled meself’ he continues ‘I move around a lot, never in the one place for long. But if I was ever burgled I’d get rid of everything’.
Marque 4 watches him slurp the tea. Marque 4, with his little brow furrowed into a worrisome glower. He’s not sure what to make of the man in our sitting room.
‘The rice crispies, the lot, you know? I’d have to throw everything out and start again. You just wouldn’t know what they’ve done to anything. What they’ve put in your coffee’. Full on alarm bells chime merrily in me now. Have we a burglar or a psycho or a bit of both sitting in with us. Why the hell did I let him in? Marque 1 comes in briefly, nods and retreats, leaving a protective glow in his wake. You see, nutter, there’s a guy in the house the same size as you, in case you’re thinking of trying anything on. How the hell am I to get rid of him?
‘That’s the best cup of tea I’ve ever had’ he says to marque 4. ‘I’ll give you a trick. My mother used to always ask me to make her coffee. Then one day I made a horrible cup and she never asked again. So just make a horrible cup and you won’t get asked’. Marque 4 says nothing. Not a word. But his eyes have widened into full scale saucers in an indignant show of mistrust. If only I could do the same.
‘Yeah and the burglars have it all worked out. They call to doors pretending to be selling something and they check out the security system and if there’s a dog. They showed me what they do. They have a sheet with a grid of all the houses and they put X’s and O’s in boxes. They grade the dogs. Small X’s for little dogs and big X’s for big ones’.
They showed you, did they? How very kind of them.
‘You know what, I’m going to stick with what I’ve booked already. I really want to get it done quickly, I’m getting nervous about the prospect of being burgled’. More nervous by the second since meeting you. Feck saving a hundred euros. I do not wish to be signing any contracts with the likes of your good self.
He stands up to leave, slurping the last of his tea, his face crest-fallen. He thought he had us in his bag. Not that he’s doing it for the money, of course.
‘Jesus’ I say to my sister, closing the door.
‘The stuff he was coming out with was very odd. What did you think?’
‘Well, he did say when you were out making tea that he’s been on the wrong side of the tracks himself’
‘What? He said that to you?’
‘Yes. He said that’s why he’s doing it. To make amends for having been on the wrong side of the tracks himself. He said just petty stuff, shoplifting and the like. But who knows’.
Who the hell knows? Don’t ask me. I know nothing. Nothing at all.
‘Oh, and I don’t know if I should tell you this. I don’t want to frighten you’ she says. It’s too late for that. Petrification set in twenty minutes ago.
‘But he said he’d met all sorts of psychopaths and during his time on the wrong side’. Great.
I picture him leaving our house, this self-confessed psycho, filling out his X’s and O’s grid. No dog. Exceptionally gullible adults. On the ball kids. Nothing worth stealing but a piece of piss if you want to get in.

To make myself feel marginally better I phone the company. If they don’t have salesmen out undercutting the telesales team then I’ll phone the police. The man who answers the phone announces my name to me as if he’s expecting the call. I haven’t told him my name. He just knows. Great. Maybe they’re all in on it. I’m standing in Tesco’s, cold and tired, talking to a stranger who knows my name, about a nutty burglar who called to help secure my home. When is it time to just lie down and admit defeat? Soon. Very soon. Yes, he tells me. They do have salesmen in the area tonight. Small mercies. I’ll keep standing so. Did you get the number on his badge? He asks. He obviously doesn’t know too much about me. I’d never have thought of that. No, just the name I tell him. Next time, he says, get the number and when you ring we can run it through the system and see if he’s legit. Good tip, cheers. I stop short of telling him that his man on the street has a screw or two loose. That he is telling prospective customers that he used to be on the wrong side, cavorting with psychos and that this is a vocation to make amends. It may be that I don’t fancy a visit from him. That I don’t want him pissing, or whatever, into my granola when I dob him in. But I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s that I have a soft spot for characters who are more than a little odd, with a shady past, trying to get it together. They can colour up a story no end.
IMG_7889 (1)
Of course phone calls are made, once the details of the evening are drip-fed over a day or two to himself. His not best pleased face tells me that action must be taken. That this is bigger than my new found empathy with reformed odd bod burglars that might show up in a story. If reformed he is at all. What if he’s scoping the place for his psycho burglar pals? When should a person expect to feel most secure in their home? When a person calls to the door, with a security logo jacket and I.D. A person from the very company you’ve decided to go with. Of course you let him in (phew). Who wouldn’t? (You). This is bigger than us. This is a piece that must be written for the greater good. The safety and good of the nation. At Christmas. Or some such thing. I’m drifting off a little, into lovely story land. And you’re the person to write it. Research a little for it. Do a journalistic piece. Get it out there. People need to know.
But, hey, where’s the fun in that?