Thoughts while shaving . . . .
Not to get too specific about this, but I've always thought the fun of making love was to go ahead and make it, not to listen to some stranger simulate it. But that was before Monique.
As anyone with a car well knows, Monique is Washington's Voice of Recorded Sex. She has left pink business cards under every windshield wiper in town, inviting the finder to give her a ring on her 976 number. It will cost you $6 to hear Monique huff and puff and pretend to be going bananas from sexual excitement. That's a lot of dough to hear a lot of phony caterwauling, if you ask me.
Still, Monique (or whoever she might really be) is raking it in. I'm told that her number is busy half the time. And I'd hate to tell you how many parents have called me to ask what they can do about the $500 phone bills that their 15-year-old sons have run up, usually in the late afternoons on weekdays, before Mom or Dad are home from work.
The answer, alas, is that there isn't an answer. Once the calls have been made, the money is owed.
The phone company has been under a lot of pressure about 976 sex, and it thought it had found a compromise. For the last few months, the phone people have required 976 sex purveyors to run a warning just before Monique's act begins.
The warning says that if you hang up right now, before the first "Oooooh baby," you won't be charged. But very often, the voice issuing the warning is muted. And if you aren't expecting the warning, it can whiz past you before you realize what the voice has said. That'll be $6, pal.
Isn't there a computer hacker somewhere who can reprogram phones to make them immune to the 976 exchange?
Yes, it's legal (don't forget that, since deregulation, you own the phone). Yes, it's technologically possible. Yes, it's a better answer than the cops or the courts.
If the playground near my house is any indication, some debatable lessons are being drawn by some young Washington Redskins fans.
While whirling my daughter around in a suspended tire the other day, I noticed a bunch of 8-year-old boys playing a bit of touch football.
"I'll be Doug Williams," said one kid. "You be Gary Clark. Go long. I'll throw it to you."
A third kid hiked the ball to the first kid. The second kid went long. The first kid threw the ball as far as he could -- which wasn't very. The second kid leaped for the ball, caught it and spiked it, just the way the pros do on television.
Lots of glory in that moment. But if Doug Williams will forgive me, football is not all throwing and catching.
When I think back to the second quarter of the Super Bowl -- that brief, shining period in which Washington rang up five touchdowns -- I think back to some of the most superb blocking I've ever seen.
Sure, throwing and catching produced four of those five touchdowns. But blocks produced the time to throw and catch.
Come on, you guys in my playground. Get a little dirty and a little grunt-y. Blocking is team ball -- and haven't we just seen that team ball is winning ball?
Yes, they could do an awful lot better. But you have to admit that the D.C. Department of Transportation's hook-em-away squads have made main downtown streets a lot better during rush hour.
It used to be that you could park your car on K Street from 4 to 6:30 p.m., and the worst that would happen to you would be a ticket. Now, you are about 50-50 to be dragged away by a tow truck. And you are 100-to-0 to deserve it.
But if K Street has improved, the major thoroughfares outside of downtown are usually as horrendous as ever.
Thoroughfares like South Dakota Avenue. Michigan Avenue. South Capitol Street. Alabama Avenue. Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Thirteenth Street NW.
All are four lanes wide, either wholly or mostly. That means that if one yo-yo decides to park illegally during rush hour, two lanes of traffic have to squeeze into one. That is time-consuming, frustrating and dangerous.
I hate to wish extra work on the Metropolitan Police, but this is a neighborhood law enforcement problem, and it demands a neighborhood solution.
A police tow truck should be stationed at each of the city's eight police districts, strictly to handle illegal rush hour parkers. Citizens should be able to call the district switchboard (please, not 911!) and tell a desk sergeant about a red Mustang that's fouling up the works. And a tow truck should get to the scene quickly and apply the hook.
As the system is now constructed, an illegally parked car on South Dakota Avenue has to compete for a tow truck with an illegally parked car on K Street. DCDOT has only so many tow trucks, and it will get up to South Dakota only after it has finished with K. If we shift a little towing responsibility onto the police districts, tow trucks don't compete, and maybe a few more of us get home in time for dinner.