“Um,” the girl with her arm raised says, “Caleb is annoying us.”
“You know the best way to deal with that is to ignore it, right?”
She sits up as straight as possible, glares at him in the least ignoring way ever, and says, “That’s what I’m going to do then.”
I’ve already turned to help some kids actually working on their sentences when I hear Caleb say, “Thanks for the good advice.”
And because it is good advice, I ignore him. And because punks don’t get to me, I can admire the skill of his sentence. It’s punk tone without punk content. So, if I had engaged, and turned around and said, “What did you say?” He would have modified his tone and drained all the punk.
Or, to look at it another way, as a Maryism: a gumball is a gumball, even if it’s not the color he wanted.
Am I saying never engage? Nope. I’m saying there’s a difference between annoying and destructive and you can loop in punk land for a long fucking time accomplishing nothing positive while nevertheless demonstrating that people can get to you. Poke. “Sweets, you couldn’t ignore me if you tried.” Poke.
Are you powerful? If you are, I know you’re not in a power struggle. Especially with a child. If you are powerful, I know you absorbed the punk credo of Fuck This, I’m Going to Build Something Different without kicking other people around.