I’ve been away from home this weekend. My wife and I have an agreement that when I travel, I won’t blog about it before I go. Something about the entire planet knowing that I’m away from home… Anyhow, through the mighty power of WordPress, I’m setting this post to publish automatically at approximately the same time my plane home touches down.

I’m writing this from my friend, Scott Hodge’s backyard in Aurora, Illinois. I’m here in Chicagoland visiting him and helping him out with a few things. Exciting things that hopefully I’ll be able to blog about in the future… but not quite yet. Just like back home on the east coast, the midwest USA is experiencing some awesome spring-like weather this weekend. I love it. As much as I claim to dislike hot weather, it sure does feel nice after our long winter.

Now, if you do any amount of travel around this country (and admittedly, I do much, much less than some), you’ll understand what I’m about to say…

At what point did every town, every city, every suburb in this country start looking the same? It’s actually possible to lose track of which city your airplane just landed in! As you drive away from the airport – any airport – you pass stripmall after stripmall and see the same stores. One after another. It’s deja vu all over again, as Yogi would say. Wait, haven’t I been here before? Is this San Antonio or Seattle?

WalMart, Target, Starbucks, McDonalds, Bed Bath & Beyond, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, Chilis, Macaroni Grill…. it doesn’t end.

And it’s not just the stores. It’s the architecture too. The same sandstone-colored stucco, the same red lettering, the same parking lots, the same employee uniforms, the same products on the shelf.

Widespread consumerism has enabled these large corporations to go national in a way much bigger than was possible in previous generations. Not to mention how easy e-commerce has made it to go global.

Anyhow, not a condemnation of big consumerism. Just a melancholy observation on the death of the ‘Regional Uniqueness’ in our country.