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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Watchout! Dispatch from Providence

On March 14, somebody brought a bag lunch to a restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, and ate it outside on a bench. From the look of things, they sat there with the over-ripe banana in their right hand and a Modelo beer in their left. The person then got up and walked away, leaving their trash behind for somebody else to pick up.  Thanks to Emily, an attentive passerby, who made this important report!


They ate outside and brought their own food, so they didn’t need to leave a tip.

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Watchout! Street Stalkers

On Saturday, January 23, I decided to take a brisk walk to get the blood flowing after a sedentary week. I didn’t get far before I noticed that the neighborhood was a little slimier than usual. Then I realized the reason – the streets were alive with peels! They skulked on Sunset, blighted the bus stop, and haunted House of Pies. Just when I thought I was safe, I spotted a fresh specimen on Inverness Ave. That was enough excitement for me! I spent the rest of the weekend hiding under the covers.


The first sign of trouble popped up at 1:31 PM outside the bus stop at Franklin and Vermont.


Just one second later, this oddly folded skin appeared right outside House of Pies. Was it the victim of an overzealous banana cream pie baker? Or something more sinister?


This scene unfolded in the no-man’s land at Hollywood and Sunset. This peel looks like it’s either crawling toward, or away from, the empty Vaseline container. I didn’t stick around to see what happened next.


I spotted this menace on Inverness Ave at 2:57 PM.

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