It seems like we hear the same thing every March.
Austin isn’t as cool as it used to be. The corporations ruined it. Austin’s only going to get worse by the year.
But how bad could it really get? How long would it take for Austin experience to completely lose the character it established in 1987? Although many would claim we’re already well past this point (go ahead and crack another PBR), we can’t help but make a few dystopian predictions about what our fair city will be like…ten years from now.
Everyone speaks both Spanish and English.
In an odd twist of fate, West Lake is a ghetto and Rundberg is a gated community. Fiesta is the new Whole Foods. In order to gain some traction against Hopdoddy and Torchy’s in the ongoing South Congress turf war, the owners of Home Slice have begun offering a $2000 pass to live in their restaurant during SXSW. Furthermore, Home Slice offers pizza topped with golden flakes for their wealthiest clients. Robots have completely taken over the Pedicab business, leading to an increased number of Flocking Bedhead (SEE 40% CERTAINTY).
With the sudden and inexplicable shutdown of Austin Pets Alive, gangs of dogs roam the streets. There is a tense rivalry between the Barks-dale Crew in Tarrytown and the Barton Springs Ruff Riders. In another act of nature, the infamous HEB grackles have turned the once-docile Intramural Fields parakeets into bloodthirsty raptors and all IF games look like they belong in a 1963 Hitchcock thriller. Infowar’s Alex Jones is only newscaster in town. He has successfully lobbied for mandatory Conspiracy Theorist sensitivity training and Reptilian Identification citywide public awareness campaigns.
Austin has followed Marfa’s groundbreaking example and seceded from the state of Texas to form an independent entity. While Marfa quickly came to resemble a Mad Max world with fixies and Vespas, Austin has taken the initiative to hire experts to avoid a similar total collapse. Austin’s local government consists of Governor Lee Jones, Mayor McConaughey and Councilman Linklater (who only makes one proposal every year of his unprecedented twelve-year term). Kinky Friedman has run at least twice for every office, unsuccessfully. Since their takeover of west campus, Drag rats now have a collective say in city council. These vagabonds communicate across town and call for meetings using Morse-code type rhythms in their many drum circles.
Residents of any given neighborhood must remain ever wary of packs of hipsters strung out on Blue Moon and Fireman’s 4. These hipsters (known colloquially as the “Flocking Bedhead”) are nearly blind due to extensive sunglasses use. As a result, miniature eye-level moonlight towers illuminate residential sidewalks to prevent collisions between them. Prolonged fixed gear riding has made the Flocking Bedhead incapable of reproducing.
Freak influxes of cedar and pollen have filled the local air with a sickly greenish-yellow mist. The city has employed American Apparel to produce standard-issue scarves in lieu of respirators (that have been authorized as both “effective and chic” by American Apparel’s Fashion Gestapo). Austin is still widely known for its festivals, and the pearl of these is Netflix Fest. Festivalgoers pay $1000 for a two-week wristband, which includes all access to the memory swap tent.
There is an ACC campus every 5 blocks. Barista Psychology Studies and Music (Obscurity) Criticism are the most popular majors. At some point during the continuous construction of skyscrapers, the number of cranes came to outnumber buildings and the cranes themselves became vertical mixed use (VMU) establishments. Residents enjoy an entire (albeit two-room) floor to themselves and can make their way to the long and narrow Starbucks on the top floor should they feel an urge to work on their screenplay.
In an effort to further reduce emissions, Austin refuses any sort of paper currency and only accepts Bitcoin for financial transactions. Following the exodus of plastic bags, paper bags have been banned as well. Now the only way to carry groceries is with gig bags (don’t worry if you left yours in the car, you can always buy some at the register). In a bit of Tex-Mex sci-fi, Austinites are faced with an annual taco tax. Each taxpayer is granted five government-issue tacos over the course of the year. These are far from the best tacos but after years of Big Brother-type conditioning, we’re under the illusion that they’re some of the tastiest around.
With mass amounts of people moving into downtown hotels and condos (in what will be referred to as The Great “Dallas My Austin” Migration), sound ordinance regulation has progressed to the point of no return. The silent disco scene has overtaken the live music scene and Austin is now known as the “Hive Music Capital of the World”. Because of constant headphone usage, Austin has also become the “Deafest City in America” and ear horns are a fashion norm (even if you don’t need them, they complement your prescription-less glasses). Trendy neighborhood abbreviations have extended from only SoCo to include HyPar and EasCes.
The town hasn’t seen a single cigarette since the “Harsh Their Buzz” Act of 2022 banned all tobacco smoke. E-cigs and vapor pens are now coming under fire and hipsters respond with “open carry” protests, in which they publicly puff their smoking apparatuses (although we’re not entirely sure that’s a constitutional right). Toy Joy has moved 38 times. They’ll move again. The Stevie Ray Vaughan statue has been replaced by a hologram.
UT is still figuring out their budget. And, oh yeah, John Aielli is still on the air.
– Jack Anderson