People often ask, "Do you and the Ranger ever fight?" when what they're really wondering, "Is he crazy enough to speak his mind when he knows his every word ends up displayed like a casino billboard across the Internet where his entire family and all his co-workers will see him exposed like a puppy rolled onto his back, paws in the air, pink belly all soft and fuzzy?" And the answer is definitely, "yes, he has no problem pissing me off" because we have certain rules here at the Tree House." 1) No detailed descriptions of sex. 2) No detailed descriptions of fighting. 3) No financial statements. 4) No discussing the state of our refrigerator and what might be living in there. Deal.
But then the other day we argued about how to raise the dog. I'm serious. Thank God we don't have children because they would most certainly be schizophrenic and grow up to need expensive therapy, the details of which would end up in a book that Oprah would hold up and declare a masterpiece on how badly a Hippie and a Stud can fuck up their children. No thanks. No kid of mine is making it to Oprah before I do.
When it comes to dog rearing, the Ranger comes from the school of right and wrong, mind your manners, be a good dog and you might get a treat. And Second Edition is more it's okay, doggy, that chubby toddler didn't need her chunk of thigh and we can most certainly outrun her waddling parents, go ahead and poop in the next door lady's yard because we don't much like her anyway and here's a bag of pretzels, let me pour beer in your dog bowl while we watch Japanese pornamation together. Clearly, our philosophies don't always dovetail.
But as is often the case, one argument leads to another and as things became increasingly heated, the Ranger grew more reasonable (could this be the power of Verbal Judo?) and I grew a set of horns, pulling out my Prada bag of dirty tricks, insults and low blows.
Finally, the Ranger, hands on his hips, barked, "How old are you anyway?"
"You heard me. How old are you?"
"How is that relevant?"
"Well, you're acting like a twelve-year-old so I thought maybe we should review your age and vast experience?"
Oooh, things got bloody after that.
Truth is, I do often find it impossible to act my age. Creeping up on 45, I wonder at the wisdom of some of my actions. Should I still be climbing trees in 25 mph winds after drinking a six-pack of beer? Should I really be sticking my tongue out at bad drivers? Should I let friends talk me into slamming Car Bombs on a school night? Should I really be walking up to those cute Coast Guard sailors in bars and asking them to pull my finger? And when my boss asks me why do I write at home and not at the nice desk they so generously provided me, should I really admit I can only write with my pants off?
Sadly, I have plenty of time to ponder these and other deep questions now that the Ranger works a swing shift, which makes him even sexier because I can whisper "Hey there, Night Ranger," into the phone but, on the downside, leaves me unsupervised and left to my own devices.
If it's not raining, I sit on the porch and watch the giant peach of a sun slink into the ocean while drinking a gin and tonic and picking Cheez-It crumbs off my chest, noting the serendipity of enjoying a baked snack that is the exact color of the sunset. Then The Neighbor comes home from work and that's when the trouble really starts.
Together, we tend to file our better judgment in a manila folder marked, "Tomorrow is Another Day." Sometimes, there's gambling, usually involving small bills and beers, or he whips out a set of electric clippers and asks me to write something on the back of his head. More high level missions involve spray paint, water towers and shooting out a certain street light that makes us squint at night. That last one turned out to be a bit of a fumble since both of us are left-wing tree huggers and we had no idea how much noise a handgun could make at two in the morning. We dropped and ran before a second round could finish the job. For the record, the vast majority of these escapades are his fault because the mantel of responsibility only falls on the shoulders of grown-ups.
So...in answer to the question, "how old am I?" Old enough to know better. Too old to care.