If you're one of those people who think things are more fun on the spur of the moment, you probably wind up on the phone a lot, calling to see if the theater has tickets for tonight, checking on whether you can still get reservations for dinner in time for the curtain, seeing if that nice little bar will still be open for drinks and a snack after the show.

And wondering whether you'll wind up with one of those seats behind a pillar in Ford's balcony.

Between worrying about where your seats will turn out to be and the paper cuts you got while your fingers were doing all that walking, your dinner might even be spoiled.

There must be a better way.

There is.

It's called "Washington Theatre Seating Guide No. 6," and it shows you just where each seat is in the Arena/Kreeger, Capital Centre, Constitution Hall, Ford's Hartke, Kennedy Center (Concert Hall, Eisenhower Theater and Opera House), Lisner, Merri-weather Post Pavilion, National and Wolf Trap - and box-office hours and curtain times for all. It also has a timetable for restaurants and, for the first time, a cookbook section with recipes contributed by chefs of notable restaurants about town.

Quite a handy package to keep next to the phone, and the price is right: The guide is free, at most theaters, all Ticketron outlets, Orpheus Records and Columbia Federal Savings. Get two - one for the office and one for home.