I recently heard a story on NPR about how Berliners use lampposts as “virtual totem poles of information.” In some parts of the city, the posts are covered by layer after layer of flyers and personal announcements. One that attracted the reporter’s attention said, “A HORRIBLE ACCIDENT HAS HAPPENED.” It turned out a woman had lost one of her favorite stiletto shoes. A guy who collects samples of the Berlin notices describes them as affording “a deep insight of the soul of the city. These are real treasures that need to be documented, because it’s part of our everyday life culture.”
There are places in Berkeley (and elsewhere nearby) where lampposts and telephone poles and have been converted into conduits of information (or requests for information). Notices reporting yard sales and lost pets are the most common. Sometimes the inquiries are more unusual: a guy looking for a lost belt buckle, a neighbor berating the thief who broke into their car. Occasionally the postings become more elaborate. The person who lectured the break-in artist, for instance, augmented the note with the charger for a flashlight that had been stolen.
Pictured here is a uniquely elaborate example of the Berkeley street notice, over on Sonoma Avenue. The sign reads: “Bentley, our cat, loves to hunt, and brings us garden gloves he finds. Please take those you own with our apologies.” The best part is the improvised mini-clothesline with the stray gloves pinned to it.