You may not have a last name, Patrick of Falls Church, but you sure as heck have a heart. A woman from Temple Hills offers this hats-off tale of Patrick in action:
"Several weeks ago, as I went about my rounds as a visiting nurse, I realized I'd forgotten to leave some vital documents at a patient's house . . . .I decided to pull off the Beltway and call the patient's night nurse . . . .
"The first phone booth I came to was on Route 50, in front of the Thomas Jefferson Library at 7415 Arlington Boulevard . . . .An hour and a half later, I pulled into my driveway in Prince George's County -- drained. As I started to collect all my paraphernalia, however, I realized my purse was missing.
" . . . .Where could I have left it? As I ran into the house, I saw my husband motioning to me from the phone. 'Something about your purse,' he said."
A young man was calling. He identified himself as Patrick, said he had the purse and confirmed that the nurse's wallet and checkbook were still inside. However, the nurse could hear several other male voices in the background, laughing and joking.
She asked if the young man could wait there while she came back and got the purse. The young man said he couldn't, but he offered to leave it with a librarian.
"Before I could say yes," the nurse writes, "I heard his companions shout, 'The library's closed, dummy!'
" 'Please,' I urged, 'Can I come to your house and get my purse?'
" 'No,' he replied. 'I'm not going home.'
" 'If you wait for me, I'll pay you a reward.'
" 'I don't want your money, lady,' he said. But I could hear the voices in the background say, 'I do!' "
Finally the young man said: "I'll try to leave the purse where no one can see it." Then, abruptly, he hung up.
"I knew I'd never see my purse or its contents again," the woman writes.
Even so, her husband made the long drive to Falls Church to see if a miracle had occurred. After half an hour, he called to say he'd checked the bushes near the library, the dumpsters, even the trash cans in the shopping center at the corner, without success.
"Okay, honey," the nurse told him, "Come on home."
But the phone rang again about half an hour later, interrupting the nurse as she was making a list of all her missing credit cards.
"I found it!" the nurse's husband announced. "It was here all along! He threw it up on the roof of the phone booth where no one could see it!"
Best of all, everything was still there, "down to the last penny and stick of gum."
The nurse signs her letter, "A Renewed Spirit." After hearing her tale, it's hard not to make a reservation in the same boat.
Once again, the District government's left hand and its right hand don't seem to have been introduced to one another.
Larry Hayes smoked out the latest proof of this ancient pudding the other day when he rode his motorcycle to the D.C. Jail, where he hoped to visit a friend who was doing time.
However, jail officials refused to let Larry bring his helmet into the jail, and refused to store it for him while he visited his friend. He was forced to leave it balanced on his handlebars. Amazingly, and luckily, no one stole it.
As Larry points out, the D.C. government requires him to wear the helmet while aboard his motorcycle. The same D.C. government in effect requires him to subject his helmet to theft whenever he visits the D.C. Jail. Crazy? Larry thought so, and I do, too.
Can't the jail make life a little easier for helmet-wearing, law-abiding visitors who arrive by motorcycle? "We have no facilities for storage," said LeRoy Anderson, public information officer for the D.C. Corrections Department. His best advice? "Lock the helmet on the motorcycle."
Of course, that would invite a thief who might have wanted a mere helmet to steal an entire motorcycle instead. Welcome to Washington, folks, where easy problems become hard.
Many D.C. streets become one-way during morning rush hour, but few are as busy as 17th Street NW, between Massachusetts Avenue and K Street. Any automotive fish who tried to swim north against the daily southbound 17th Street tide would soon discover the error of his ways.
However, there's one guy whose license plates have obviously given him the courage to try. Barbara McGarry spotted him one recent morning, inching his way north on 17th between K and L, as dozens of cars streamed south.
The guy's tags: MY WAY.