Homemaking in a Post-Apocalyptic Hellscape, Dodging Polite Strangers, and Other Questionable Advice

Welcome to Thatz Not Okay, a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions to caity.weaver@gawker.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."

For the past year, my husband and I have wanted to relocate from Austin to Santa Fe. We are in our early 30s and have both lived in Texas our entire lives. We are very familiar with Austin's job market and have a lifetime of friends and connections here, and my parents are only a few hours away. We also want to have a baby soon, so maybe relocating to an unfamiliar place isn't the best idea. And moving is expensive. I have managed to get a couple of freelancing opportunities lined up, but nothing solid. Regardless of all that, something is just telling me to throw caution to the wind and go anyway! Is that okay?

Thatz not okay.

The billion-dollar a year whimsical adult industry has done America a great disservice by convincing its work-age populace that "adventure" is a viable life path. People who, in other decades, would have been bandaging kids' broken arms or birthing calves by lamplight or manipulating political pawns with a velvet voice and a serpent's tongue in the court of King Henry VIII are now dropping everything to move to Santa Fe for no reason other than "what if?"

But think about this. Do you really want the first words you say to your child to be "Welcome to the world, baby. Your parents are unemployed and have no social network, but AT LEAST YOU'RE IN NEW MEXICO"?

And listen to this description of New Mexico settlers given by the territory's governor in 1776:

"churlish types…accustomed to live apart from each other, as neither fathers nor sons associate with each other."

It's not a place for children. It's a dusty, post-apocalyptic hellscape. Cormac McCarthy lives there.

The one aspect of your proposal that gives me hope you will not end up hawking souvenirs on the shoulder of I-25 is that it seems like, in your heart, you, too know this plan iz not okay. Look at all the evidence you've offered up that it's a dumb, dumb idea – no friends, no family, no connections, no guaranteed income—and that's just what you came up with off the top your of head.

It sounds like, maybe, what you need is not permission to follow your dreams, but permission to abandon them. Like when I say to my friends:

"It's not horrible if I order second cheeseburger before the bill comes, right?"

and they say:

"Girl."

Thatz okay. We'd all like someone else to be the bad guy every once in a while. I am happy to be your bad guy.

Do not take life advice from Animal Collective choruses. Do not move far away from friends and family because you have "a couple freelancing opportunities lined up, but nothing solid." Moving decisions based on a desire for spontaneity are the privilege of those in their very early twenties, who still have a couple of years to scramble around trying to correct their mistakes.

Limit New Mexico-based spontaneity to taking a vacation there and not making hotel reservations. The headache of working out accommodations on-site should be enough to convince you that, in grown-up life, when you throw caution to the wind, a whole mess of "Oh fuck!"s blows right back in your face.

My friend has triplet babies and is constantly being nagged everywhere she goes by people (old ladies) wanting to see them, talk to them, or ask questions about them. She can't go two blocks without being bombarded and feeling like a spectacle! She practically needs to hang sign on the stroller saying "Yes, they're triplets. Don't talk to me." It okay for her to brush these people off?

Thatz okay.

When strangers approach your friend to fawn over her babies, it's perfectly acceptable for her to give short, polite responses that don't invite further conversation. She can confirm they're cute/young/triplets/whatever, smile politely, and keep moving. Truth be told, most people probably aren't expecting much more than that. There's not a whole lot to be said about a very young baby and, after they get out the standard "How cute! Are they triplets? They're darling. Three months? Wow," stuff, the strangers are probably just as eager as your friend to escape from the mild hell of banal conversation.

The problem is that no one wants to be the jerk who abruptly walks away from a young mother so eager to have others delight in her offspring. Odds are, as long as she keeps answering questions, out of politness, they'll keep scrambling to come up with questions, out of politeness. The more she answers, the more they'll have to ask. Everyone is trapped. Autumn slips into winter. The kids become surly teenagers stuffed awkwardly into a three-seat baby carriage. Selena Gomez is President.

If your friend offers a warm, "Thanks!" and keeps moving, everyone can relax.

On the other hand, ignoring well-wishers, being rude to them, or restricting communication with strangers to a hand-written "Don't talk to me," sign is an excellent way to ensure impressionable young children grow up to be poorly socialized weirdos.

This isn't Charlie Rose hitting your friend with hard questions. It's people saying how sweet her kids are. Fielding polite howdy-dos from old ladies definitely won't be the hardest part of raising triplets, even if the old ladies in question are secretly witches looking to harness The Power of Three to secure eternal youth.

And let's not overlook the fact that there's a chance this new mom is genuinely excited to have people compliment her babies. The cold, hard truth is that bearing children is not a very cool or unusual thing to do. Kris Jenner's done it, like, 40 times now, and one of her kids even grew up to be A Perfect Bitch. Most mothers will never see their children soar to such heights.

It sounds like, perhaps, you're the one who feels uncomfortable when strangers interrupt your friend-time to fawn over Baby³. If that's the case, just remain silent and smile beatifically down at the little ones until the moment has passed. Know that it cannot and will not last forever.

Also, for what it's worth, these kids should probably enjoy their modicum of neighborhood fame now, because no triplet has ever done anything more noteworthy than growing up to look like two other people. Check out Wikipedia's List of Triplets for a short list of triplets you have never heard of.

And, for the record, three babies, while certainly more unusual than one or two isn't a spectacle.

A beagle puppy. That's a spectacle.

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