Things I Find on the Side of the Road

“My dad stops to pick up tie-downs and signal flags. He’s got a garage full of them,” my friend told me. I can totally understand. I pick things up all the time. Mostly rags, for cleaning my bike. For every object I pick up, there are dozens of things I don’t stop for.

The side of the road is paved with discarded recyclables.

Mostly I see trash. Recyclable trash. Who are these horrible slobs throwing cans and bottles out the car window? If it’s booze, I can see why they’d want to get rid of the evidence. But soda bottles? Yeah, I guess, throw that out the window. The fairies will recycle it. Maybe pee in it first. Fairies really like that.


Also, there’s the electronic detritus. I always wonder how this happens. Was someone taking a photo out the window and their gadget dropped? I see the gutted remains of cell phones every single day. Batteries by the dozens. More than a few tablets. Tossed or dropped? There’s got to be a story.

Art in its raw state

A shocking number of dead animals. Bloated deer. Squashed raccoons. Swatted birds. Smashed snakes. Shattered turtles. (I consider it my mission to save all living turtles I find trying to cross the highway. So far, I have rescued five little guys.)

Not just animals.

A friend of mine from high school recently lost a son to a drunk driver. I think of her now when I see roadside markers like this one.

On a reservation in Arizona I found this charming travel journal. Some talented little artist drew a picture of her home and then lost her book. I’m using it now.

No idea.

This bizarro treasure was my mascot for a few days till she fell off my bike on a forest path. There were some broken legs scattered around her, so I think she started out with more limbs that just her tail. I always wonder what child tantrums lead to toys being thrown out the window of the car. A sibling fight? A desire to let a toy go free? I also find unopened snacks, occasionally still edible. The other day I found a cheese stick, still cold. I ate it.

Bike kitty!

Okay, I found her at an RV park. If I’d really found her on the side of the road, I’d have adopted her.


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