Shrugging off the exhaustion of a 100-party weekend, Inaugural Washington pulled its furs back on yesterday and dashed once more into tight-scheduled celebration. Intimate it was not, as 8,000 Distinguished Ladies were feted at the Kennedy Center, Vice President-elect Bush and his family made 15,000 new acquaintances at a museum on the Mall and the scent of 1,000 bratwurst floated elsewhere over commingled ladies and gentlemen of the presidential transition. Gala, it was.
They were playing the theme song from "Cabaret" on violin and piano last night at the F Street Club, where deputy transition team director William Timmons was hosting a reception. But if life is a cabaret, one pays a price for victory, and the elegance of the guests competed with their mounting exhaustion. "One more spiked heel in the foot and I'm warning you, I've had it," muttered one black-tie guest tohis bejeweled companion as she coaxed him out of the limousine.
Still, the resourceful were learning to adapt their routines to the demands made on their wit and energy. "I've been making profound statements all weekend," said former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, whose ubiquitous presence was beginning to give rise to rumors that he must have had himself cloned for the festivities. "I'm rotating all my bon mots -- every fourth time I say something."
Kissinger was placing bets with Secretary of State-designate Alexander Haig as to whether Haig would get more votes against him in the Senate than Kissinger did when his nomination was on the floor, as Haig found himself the center of a constant stream of congratulations for his performance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Into the night they disappeared, fortified for the next round of smiling conversations and hearty hallelujahs. At least one guest had found the answer to the toll the times were taking on his energy. "I'm learning to sleep standing up," said Fred Hartley, the chairman of Union Oil Co.