This week’s travels take me to Chicago so I wanted to go into the city on memorial day, but then I remembered I don’t like the traffic here. It’s bright as hell and I thought I might find some characters to shoot, so I decided instead to find an older small town to walk around and find some details or somebody interesting. Problem is nothing here is old. There are some old buildings in some of the small towns, but they have no character because the original tenants left long ago and they all have new businesses like spas and jewelers in them now. In fact I realized I didn’t have enough time to really find what I was looking for because seemingly the suburbs around Chicago never end.

Mulling over what I might shoot in this bright ass mid-day light, I came to the conclusion that we humans don’t seem to like our lives, so we live vicariously through ourselves. On the weekend we put on leather vests and ride around on Hondas or harleys, and during the week we work as market analysts or orthodontists. We eat at restaurants built to appear as log cabins. In the evenings these small town-centers get visitors from all over the area who then retreat to their suburban housing, away from the old buildings. Most of us don’t have a lot of real problems so we need to amuse ourselves by pretending to be someone or someplace we aren’t. Plus, people are fickle and material so, we tend to demand superficial things.

Anyway. I ended up in St. Charles because I used to live nearby. There is a strange and superficial nature to the businesses demanded in these little towns. Since few of us come here for any real services except leisure, those are the businesses to be found. Bars. A sandwich shop closed on a holiday. An historic hotel. Jewelers. Bars. Clothing stores for pets. Barbers. (a lot of those for some reason?).

It’s a shame these older little downtowns will only ever be built on saccharin - no wonder people are always on the way out.