But colorful and folksy was getting harder and harder to find: the city had changed, was changing. There were big-assed skyscrapers downtown now, and tech millionaires cruising around in Maserattis, and waves of immigrants from California and Mexico—and everywhere else on the planet, seemingly—had changed the texture of the town. Colorful and folksy, real colorful and folksy, was getting hard to find. Wes tried a few times to write about the new city he was seeing all around him—he wrote about the gentrification of the east side, about inappropriately huge mansions in old neighborhoods, about traffic and traffic and traffic, about air and water pollution, about the loss of friendly old bars and restaurants, and the snootiness of new bars and restaurants—he wrote columns about the new city, and nobody liked them. They were downers. They sounded like the carpings of a cranky old man. Nobody wanted to read that. People wanted colorful and folksy—at least from him, they wanted colorful and folksy. He went back to recycling old topics. In the end all it got him was a gig as the celebrity judge at the Greater Southwest Chitlins Cookoff and Jamboree.
“We’ve got the seventeenth-largest city in America,” Wes said, “and there’s going to be all these people running around worrying about hog guts.”
“That’s what makes Austin fun,” Jillian said. “It’s weird.”
“It’s all a big lie,” Wes said. “And I’m a big liar.”
“Poor Wes,” Jillian said again. “You’re just feeling sorry for yourself.”
“If you were me, you’d feel sorry for me, too.”
“No, I probably wouldn’t,” Jillian said.
Wes just stared at her.
“You’re part of the problem,” Wes said. He took a sip of beer and looked at the television. Some rich bastard was putting. He said, “This is going to be the worst day of my life. The very worst day."