Oh, Los Angeles. Not only are you way too slovenly with your dead cigarette butts, but you're super awkward about the bulkier items you choose to leave lying around this great cemented city. (All too often dangerously near a storm drain, and therefore the sea, and therefore some poor baby animal's unsuspecting esophagus.) Yet somehow, we're not surprised.
Here are the 12 most awkward things that the 10,964 Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers found intertwined in 44,038 pounds of trash at 65 sites across L.A. County last Saturday. (Heal the Bay keeps a spreadsheet of oddities, because why wouldn't they?) Enjoy.
• A birdcage. Surfrider Beach in Malibu.
• Two metal wagon wheels of six-foot radius, apparently from a stagecoach. Heal the Bay spokesman Matthew King says the org is "still trying to figure out where the hell those are from," but thinks they could be old museum pieces. Taylor Yard railroad station, near Dodger Stadium.
• Twelve mattresses, seven couches, five toilets and two TVs. Echo park.
• Discarded hypodermic needles, according to the Los Angeles Times. King says they're not on the spreadsheet because "we find those all over," but that they're most common at "one of the inland sites" -- perhaps beneath an underpass.
• "Condoms all over the place," according to the Times. Nothing new, says King. As common as plastic horses and bike kickstands. (Not so green now, are we, Team Bike!)
• An eight-inch woman's fingernail -- enameled, with the top part painted. King isn't quite sure how to describe these things, but calls it "gross" and "kind of curved." Compton Creek. ("You get a lot of stuff down there," adds King.)
• A black billfold containing $6 in cash, various credit cards and a driver's license belonging to Encino woman Kristine Bradley. (It expired in 2004. But Kristine, if you're reading this, call Heal the Bay at (310) 451-1500!) Santa Monica Pier.
• A World War II-era gas mask with the canisters still screwed into it. Santa Monica Pier.
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• The front panel of a small home safe. Playa Del Rey.
• Bowling pins with dolls' heads attached to them. Ken Maloy park, down by the harbor.
King wants to stress that this kind of gold can be yours to confiscate year-round, not just during the annual Coastal Cleanup effort: Join Heal the Bay on the third Saturday of every month for a "Nothin' But Sand" beach cleanup. Because eight-inch women's fingernails are a lot more hilarious in your trash bucket than down some baby animal's esophagus.