Hello Kitty, Goodbye Innocence: Sad Toys, Vehicular Edition

pink Hello Kitty toy car left out for trash pickup
Hello Kitty, goodbye innocence. Ain’t no sad toy like the one parked under an illegally-dumped mattress. Hill District

It is hard to overstate the raw pathos wrought by the scene confronting your author. A tiny automobile–its proportions only fit for a youth of perhaps five or six–electric pink and decked-out in the familiar white-cat-with-bow-in-her-hair emblem of the Hello Kitty brand. The vehicle is parked in a vacant lot in the upper Hill District aside and underneath an illegally-dumped sofa and guts-spilling-out mattress. The waterworks are already flowing and it’s only just seven a.m.!

Mercedes ends. Spring Garden

While it might surprise some that such a fine motor vehicle–and hopefully a once-beloved child’s plaything–would end up in this sorry state, the pink Hello Kitty two-seater is no anomaly. It turns out big little cars are outgrown, lost interest in, and not making the cut on moving day for much of America’s youth. That, or these not-meant-to-last distractions just plain break down. No one knows how to repair the engine in a plastic toy car.

Regardless, if we see a tiny Mercedes, mud-soaked and windshield smashed, now resting curbside with full garbage bags as roof cargo, we’re going to squeeze the brakes and take a picture every time. Welcome back to the City of Sad Toys: Vehicular Edition!

large pink toy car parked vertically in front of brick house
Unclear whether this is a sad toy or a creatively-parked roadster, but we’re counting it. Hazelwood
Garbage/truck. Bloomfield
child's toy truck left in overgrown backyard
Out back, break house. Sharpsburg
child's all-terrain vehicle left on roadside
Rusty Razor [no, it’s not that rusty…yet]. Woods Run
Mini-monster trucks, empty storefront. Jeannette

Sad bicycles are where it really gets personal. As a daily rider and cycling advocate who thinks everyone (physically-capable) would be happier on two wheels, seeing kids’ bikes crushed, tossed in the weeds, and abandoned on lonely roadsides hurts. Unlike the battery-operated cars above, bicycles are infinitely repairable–up to a point–so they really needn’t be dismissed so easily.

Imagine the childhood trauma at having one’s first taste of freedom ripped from her or his hands, left behind, or destroyed by negligence. It’s like we’re already training the next generation of road-rage-infused drivers for whom bicycles represent deep psychological wounds. To the youth of America [yes, I’m sure they’re reading Pittsburgh Orbit]: don’t let a lost or stolen Spider Man bike color your tomorrows! The future’s on two wheels!

Oh! The humanity! California-Kirkbride
child's Spiderman bicycle dumped in weed-filled lot
Spidey nonsense. Beltzhoover
pink tricycle abandoned in grassy lot
Crawling from the wreckage. California-Kirkbride
child's bicycle dumped in overgrown alley
Barbie’s dream cycle, this ain’t. Marshall-Shadeland

Finally, some other things-with-wheels/things-people-ride-on. Not much to say here except I’m still kicking myself for not bringing the rocking horse home and painting it silver. That would have looked great attached the fence at Chez Orbit. We’ll not get that chance again. Sigh.

rocking horse toy left out for trash
Rocking horse loser. Lawrenceville
riding/rolling toy abandoned at former quick mart
Train in vain. Lawrenceville
toy lawnmower left in alley
Enough practicing. Someone’s ready for the real thing. Lawrenceville
skateboard missing two wheels left in rainy grass
Two wheels bad. Millvale
plastic front wheel from a Big Wheel toy left on leafy ground
Big Wheel, little else. Mt. Washington
plastic toy boat crushed in gravel
It’s Shark Week somewhere! Polish Hill

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