Thoughts while shaving:

One rule that needs changing, and fast, is the policy of the Metrobus system regarding transfers.

If you have a transfer that hasn't expired, you ought to be able to use it anywhere. In fact, you can use it only at "transfer points." But it isn't always clear where those are, so you're at the mercy of the individual bus driver. Sometimes, he or she isn't feeling too merciful.

A classic case occurs at the Brookland Metro station. This is a major departure point for buses to Hyattsville, Riverdale and other parts of Prince George's County. Often, commuters from downtown will get off the subway and walk two blocks to a strip of stores on Tenth Street to do a little shopping. Then they'll board their buses there, two blocks from the subway station, to resume the journey home.

About half the time, bus drivers will accept transfers at stops along the Tenth Street strip; about half the time, they won't. When they won't, passengers must pay at least another 80 cents, and often more. Over the course of a week or a month, that adds up.

What it boils down to is that the "transfer points only" policy discriminates against passengers who have errands to do on the way home. But that's the way busy people live. How can Metro afford to make enemies of them?

I'm disappointed in the men of Washington. The women have shown us the way, and we're too cheap, too up tight or too image-conscious to follow their lead.

I refer to the marvelous idea of wearing running shoes to and from work, and changing into more traditional footwear once there.

Nikes and Pumas are becoming the rule rather than the exception on female feet, even when the rest of that female's body is Dressed For The Office. The reason, of course, is comfort.

No, I have never spent a day in high heels. No, thanks, I wouldn't like to try. I can imagine the howls of the insteps, the screams of the wounded toes.

In fact, I don't have to imagine. I get many of the same warm and wonderful feelings from my own overpriced gunboats. One of the best moments of every Saturday morning comes when I reach into the closet -- and go past the blacks and browns, right to the beat-up basketball shoes.

So why not do this the rest of the week? Honest Truth: I keep worrying that I'll run into the Queen of England on the street. How would I explain torn Adidas to her?

But maybe it's time to realize that if I haven't encountered Her Majesty in all these years, I probably never will. So why should women own all the happy feet in town? Arise, men! You have nothing to lose but fallen arches.

Over near South Dakota Avenue and Bladensburg Road the other day, I saw another "Marion."

That's what I call those overbearing signs, each signed by the city's chief executive, that you see near highway construction projects. "Your Tax Dollars at Work," they screech. "Marion S. Barry, Mayor."

Hizzoner ought to be a little more forthcoming. Most of the projects beside which "Marions" stand draw the bulk of their financing from federal highway funds. Sure, those are "your tax dollars." But they aren't the tax dollars you pay to the District Building. So why should the mayor take credit?

A graffitist is usually nothing more than a vandal with a pen. But one "artist" may have shown how to win an election in this town. I caught his handiwork on the back of a D6 bus on Q Street.

The pen-wielder took aim at one of City Councilman John Ray's ads. I'm sure you've seen them: a short vote-for-me message, beside a rather routine head and shoulders photo of The Candidate Himself. Wouldn't seem to be much to work with, even for the most creative of cartoonists.

But you can't keep a good graffitist down.

This one blackened in Ray's specs, turning them into sunglasses. He frizzed up the councilman's crewcut and rearranged the hair into drooping spit curls. He penciled in a loose-fitting jacket, with the collar turned up. And he added arms, with a glove on the end of just one of them.

Yes, Michaelmaniacs. John Ray is now riding around on a D6 bus disguised as Michael Jackson. What greater blessing could a politician receive?