Garbage Day Treasure

Ever since my running days I have found things during my daily jaunts either on foot or by bike. When I was running I’d pick up a dollar or two each week in coins. My theory was that when people reached into their pocket for their car keys they’d pull out a few coins by accident. Most of my runs on the city streets in and around Providence were along parked cars so inevitably I’d scoop up some laundry money. The most I ever found back in my running days was a $5 bill. For a starving grad student this was a big windfall.

DC may not be such a great place to run (way too hot and humid) but it’s fantastic for roadside treasure. My most frequent finds are golf balls. This is especially true in early spring when the ground is hard and the golfers are rusty. Errant shots hit the hard ground and bounce clear off the golf courses. I have found as many as a dozen balls in a single 30-mile ride. I have a bag in my shed with over four dozen balls in it and that’s after giving away a few dozen over the last two years.

Every so often I find something else of use. I have a pretty nice pair of garden shears, a pair of pliers, and a phillips head screwdriver, all from bike rides.

From time to time I find cash. Not the change of my old running days but currency. Once again I figure this is the result of someone reaching into their pockets for keys or a phone and inadvertently pulling out a few bills. Six years ago I was shocked to find $140 – two $20s and a $100 bill – on the street in front of my house. It was garbage day and I suspected that one of the workers on a garbage truck dropped the money. I had no way of reuniting the money with its owner so I held on to it. Eventually I donated it at a fundraiser for the daughters of a woman named Rose who was run over and killed on Del Ray Boulevard in Alexandria.

It’s been a long time since I’ve found money lying around. This morning I went to the bank. After I was done I spotted a dime sitting on the chair I had been using in the waiting area. How strange, I thought. I don’t carry coins these days. I pocketed the dime and laughed. It’s my lucky day.

After my bank errand I went for a ride on Big Nellie. We were making our way along Fort Hunt Road heading for Alexandria city. I stopped at a red light. Big Nellie isn’t the fastest accelerating bike on the planet so we were only going about 5 miles per hour after we crossed the intersection on the green light. I noticed what looked like a dollar bill on the paved shoulder. After passing it, I hit the brakes and duck walked the bike back to the bill. It wasn’t a dollar. It was another $100 bill.

This is a test right? I mean who the heck finds a $100 bill in the road even once? Unlike the previous bills this one was pretty beat up. Maybe it had been there a while. Then, again, maybe not. After all, in a weird coincidence, today is garbage day.

What the most unusual thing you’ve found on your walks, hikes, or bike rides?

5 thoughts on “Garbage Day Treasure

  1. My best find was similar to one of yours — a $5 bill I found on the sidewalk in West Philly in my starving undergrad days living off campus at the University of Pennsylvania.

  2. While riding I spot a lot of beer cans…I also find them at my bus stop from time to time. They are worth 10cents each. I have no way to stop and pick them up while riding and I can’t cart them around to work (they are only refundable at specific locations). Today, while riding the bus, a man got on with a garbage bag full of cans. He must have had at least 75, maybe more if he crushed them.
    Also, today is recycling day in my neighbourhood, and usually around 1:00am someone comes by to root through my blue box. I also had racoons attack my organic bin tonight…but that’s another story.

  3. Two instances stand out. One was a plastic colander that we used for years. The other was a 5 quart cylindrical Tupperware container with a lid. That was 15 years ago, found on my pedaling route to work. We still use it to this day for a compost bucket.

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