A whole bunch of people are hobbling about in single shoes, boots and flip-flops. I don't know where they are, but they're out there. I keep driving by their missing shoes, boots and flip-flops.
It happened again the other day. Snow piled up. Thermometer dialed down. And a white canvas sneaker frozen to the road.
How did the person whose foot used to be ensconced in the sneaker not notice this?
''Say, Fred, it's the oddest thing. My left foot's toasty, but there's no feeling in my right other than the sensation of slush squishing between my toes. Do you suppose I should stop by the doctor's office on Tuesday and have it checked?''
How can a Hush Puppy scamper off and a guy not wonder who let the dogs out? Why would you not stop and retrieve the stray?
Summers are your best viewing of random solo shoes littering roadways. I have two guesses for how this happens.
The first is little brothers in backseats taking revenge on big sisters who kick off their Kicks.
The second is passengers - oh, please let it be the passengers - riding with their feet propped outside the car window.
Finding fallen footwear in the wintertime is more perplexing. Rolling down the window unnoticed is one thing. A passenger - oh, please don't let it be the driver - riding with feet propped out the window in subfreezing weather doesn't make sense.
Of course, a person crazy enough to invite frostbite at 60 mph probably is looney enough not to notice when the pump plops and this little piggy goes, ''Brrr, brrr, brrr!'' all the way home.
I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I do a fair amount of hiking country roads, and one thing I've noticed winter, summer, spring or fall, it's always just one shoe.
This is especially weird if the lost shoe is a stiletto. Seems like a person eventually would become aware of an 8-inch lilt in her leg.
A museum of singular oddities are on display for my walks. That quirky quote attributed to Yogi Berra, ''If you come to a fork in the road, take it'' - I found the fork. No spoon, knife or plate. Just the fork. I didn't take it.
I've come across gloves, eye glasses, packets of horseradish, Lite-Brite pegs, a bicycle tire, and items of clothing that a person must have known were missing by breezes cooling unusual places. But I've never found a bag a gold, and never the other shoe.
I've done a little research on the Single Shoe Syndrome - or possibly Cinderella's Slipper Syndrome - and discovered it's a universal phenomenon. No matter what country a traveler traverses, he will spot single shoes alongside the road.
A couple of enterprising trekkers started websites to post styles, colors, sizes and leaning of lost shoes in hopes that another expeditionists will discover the match. Last I checked, it hasn't happened.
It's a quest. A life-sized version of the find-the-hidden-objects puzzle. Where's Waldo's other shoe? The lonely Florsheim's the needle and all the world's a haystack.
In the meantime, remember, it's no time to put your left shoe in and pull your left foot out. It's wintertime, people. Tighten those laces.
But if one does get away, I think I can hook you up with slightly frozen Size 9 canvas sneaker. Right.
---- Look for lost shoes and find Cole at burtseye email@example.com or the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.