Watchout! No One’s Treasure

The woman who photographed this sinister specimen nearly took pity on it.

“It looked so pathetic, swept to the side like that, with the most useless bits of trash on the whole street. That trash is no one’s treasure, I thought,” said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous. “But then I just walked on by, just like I always do. What does that say about me?”

The horror under the table.

The horror under the table. Spotted in Bordeaux last May.

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All She Wanted was a Snack. What She Found Nearly Killed Her

Back in May, a weary traveler stumbled through the streets of Bordeaux, looking for fresh fruit as a snack on her long journey. She noticed something unnerving in the road ahead – a streak of yellow under the oil-dark sky. Her horror grew as she advanced and the object took shape before her eyes. A piece of wood pointed accusingly at the yellow thing, splayed like roadkill on the sandy ground. She screamed….People stopped to stare. She screamed for hours and hours, until the sun was low behind the trees. Finally a man came out of a tavern and gave her an orange. She stopped screaming, adjusted her cloak, and continued her way down the long, dark road.


5-29_may_bordeaux 5-29_bordeaux3

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Watchout! Unexpected Kindness

D. caught this tender moment on film in Sherman Oaks. Both peel and bag have seen better days, but they don’t let circumstances get them down. Never underestimate the power of friendship.


Love conquers all. 

Watchout! Lonely Passenger

You’re riding in a metal ship, hurtling through a network of underground tunnels toward your destination. It sounds pretty cool, in theory, but the experience of riding the subway can be more of a chore than a fun voyage. There can be any number of inconveniences, ranging from delays and unexplained smells, to wet seats and loose-cannon passengers grinning at you from across the aisle, or trying to start a conversation, or eating a smelly cheeseburger, etc etc.

Loyal reader J. from San Francisco was riding on  the Dublin-Pleasanton BART train on October 13, when she spotted this peel in the middle of the aisle. It is clearly invading the personal space of other passengers, and I doubt it will move aside to allow others to disembark. Maybe it’s just me, but there is something sad about this one, like it’s lost and needs help. It knows it isn’t supposed to be here, but it doesn’t know where else to go.


Who would do such a thing?



Watchout! Sand Creatures

After a long day of exploring the stunning landscapes of the Mojave Desert, we thought we’d go “antiquing”, having heard people boast about their finds at the local antique shops. We drove up and down the main strip, and pulled into a promising looking venue, a fenced-in yard filled with bric-a-brac and cardboard boxes. There were two other young couples in there, with dismayed expressions on their faces. “Nothing good left,” one of them said as he passed me. Not one to be easily deterred, I ignored his warning and  wandered deeper into the piles of boxes. I took note of the waterstained self-help books and the  unopened mail marked “Urgent: Open By December 6, 2002”. I used my shoe to poke around in a box of miscellany, and approached a vintage Crock-Pot for a closer look, only to discover some petrified stew coating the bottom.

I grew increasingly uncomfortable at this display of household charnel, as if its misery could rub off on me. Normally, objects at yard sales and flea markets call out to me in one way or another, with some song of nostalgia or potential. But this was truly a graveyard, and a neglected one at that. I even felt a vague sense of danger, as if this yard was laid out as bait, to lure people from the road into some kind of trap. Nothing good left, indeed. Where were all the great antiques people bragged about?  Could this really be it?

We left to get some BBQ and regain our strength – and on the way, we spotted this lowly banana peel sunning itself in the sand.

On the way out of town, we passed a strip of lovely looking antique shops, only a half mile down the road. But by that time, it was too late to stop. Oh well, we said. Next time.


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Watchout! Hidden Danger

Here’s something new. Whether it’s their intimidating appearance or a lack of better options, some peels are apparently being hired as security guards, preventing unauthorized access to restricted locations. Z.R., a watchful reader from London, spotted this fresh one on Nov. 10. So far, they seem to be limited to low-level posts like fire doors and street gutters, but we’ll see what happens. Don’t be surprised if you spot a peel guarding the entrance to your local Walgreens or convenience store sometime soon.

A peel working as a security guard.

A peel working as a security guard.

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Watchout! Jane’s Story

On a recent Saturday, Jane encountered an eerie trail of peels on the sidewalk in San Francisco. Intrigued and concerned, she followed it. Each time she thought she’d lost the trail, another peel appeared – she was on the right track. She followed the mysterious trail  through the city streets, past gardens and cafes, piers and parklets, until the trail ended at the Farmer’s Market, where Jane treated herself to a delicious and well-deserved plate of dumplings.

“Based on the erratic trail and the wide variety of peel sizes, we are looking for a desperate, possibly deranged, banana fiend,” said a source close to the investigation, who did not wish to be identified because she was not authorized to speak publicly about the case. “The bananas were also at various stages of ripeness, indicating that this lunatic will eat whatever banana comes their way,” she added. The public is advised.

This isn’t the first time that Jane has encountered a peel on the street. Back on August 1, she reported 2 sleazy specimens smoking cigarette butts on the corner. And just today, she spotted a real hot mess splayed out on the curb.

Watchout! Rorschach Test

Many thanks to home detective and armchair psychoanalyst Bob, who spotted this ambiguous shape in San Rafael on May 15.

This one looks like a small, squished clown. Or maybe the dirty ribbon that I used to play with as a child? Or actually, I think it's my old teacher, Miss Katz-Butts. Whatever it is, it's trying to ruin my life!

This one looks like a tiny, squished giraffe Or the dirty ribbon that I used to play with as a child… Or actually, I think it’s my old teacher, Miss Katz-Butts. Whatever it is, it’s trying to ruin my life!

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Watchout! Bad Chameleon

Splat! This guy tried to blend in with the yellow paint on the road, but I spotted him immediately.

Splat! This guy tried to blend in with the yellow paint on the road, but I spotted him immediately.

Watchout! Suspicious Behavior

On January 30, I ventured out of my house for a nice walk in the neighborhood. It was a lovely day, and I saw many interesting things, bought an overpriced juice, and browsed in the bookstore. The big city is a fascinating place, but it can be dangerous, too, as I discovered when I narrowly evaded these ominous characters loitering suspiciously in the neighborhood.


Where the sidewalk starts or ends, depends on which direction you’re going.


Spotted near a mysterious marking, on Franklin and Hillhurst.


Yikes – Somebody lost their lunch!

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