Metro's general manager, Richard A. White, was kind enough to be my guest 10 days ago on "Levey Live," the deathlessly brilliant chat show that I host twice each week on washingtonpost.com.
We tripped gaily through the usual run of issues -- fares, expansion, extended subway hours, escalators from hell. Then I laid my haymaker on him.
I asked when Metro will junk its familiar orange and brown seat coverings and go to burgundy, blue and gold, as mandated by the Metro board back in April.
I also tipped my hand. I said I was "vastly amused" that the board found the current colors "too 1970s." Bob Levey "had a good time in the 1970s," I typed. "I still have my leisure suits to prove it."
The new seat colors will begin to arrive late next year, when new cars do, Brother White answered. He added, helpfully, that I should hang on to my three-button suits, just in case there's another fashion change.
Don't worry, Dick, I will. But I am getting drippingly sentimental about the orange and brown seats, upon which we have plopped our weary backsides since our subway opened in 1976. Will all that fabric just be tossed, after serving us so well? Or is there a way to recycle it?
Metro spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson said that the orange carpet now found in every subway car will indeed be thrown away. I can't say I'm sorry about that. One look at its hopeless grunginess will explain.
The orange and brown seat coverings will revert to a "private company that has a contract" with the transit agency, Cheryl said. What that company does with many, many thousand yards of vinyl is "up to them," Cheryl said.
As the high-rolling dealmakers like to say, I smell an opportunity here.
No, I haven't been watching Smothers Brothers reruns, or driving a Plymouth Barracuda. But I think the 1970s are worth commemorating. So I think we should preserve Metro's 1970s decorating scheme in the proper way.
Luckily, the perfect answer sits just inside the Capital Beltway, in Prince George's County.
Redskins Stadium, which opened two years ago, has not won any design prizes, and its seats are part of the reason. They are red and yellow -- festive, to be sure, but a bit brassy, a bit like the interior of a Pizza Hut.
What if all of Metro's orange and brown vinyl were donated to the Redskins, and they used it to cover all those seats?
Yes, I know that sometimes it rains and snows, and vinyl isn't built to withstand the elements. But over 23 years, gallons of soda and coffee have been spilled on Metro seats by wicked sippers who ignored no-drinking signs. There's no evidence of permanent damage.
If you were around here 25-plus years ago, you know that the Redskins of that era were among the best football teams ever assembled.
My heart still thumps when I think of Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, Charley Taylor, Roy Jefferson, Ron McDole, Len Hauss, Brig Owens and many, many others. The Redskins first went to the Super Bowl in those halcyon days. It's a bit of football history that needs commemorating in a historically appropriate way.
I suppose some Redskins fans would rather see plaques and monuments built to honor 1970s players and 1970s teams. In this ever-so-monumental city, that would be expected.
Why not the unexpected? Why not a festival of autumn colors for an autumn sport? And why not keep mountains of vinyl out of a landfill?
To Metro: This is synergy, you guys -- a solution to two problems at once.
To the Redskins: You never really liked all that red and yellow anyway, did you?
To Metro again: If you swing this deal, people will forever be reminded of Metro when they attend a Redskins game. Some of them might even take the subway to a game sometime.
Thank you, Richard Urbont, of Columbia, for a tactic that all married souls should commit to memory.
Husbands and wives are forever being invited to Dearly Beloved's umpty-umpth high school reunion. This is tough duty for many people because they don't know a soul and they fear they won't be welcome when Tales of Old are being told.
Besides, the reunioning member of the couple will want to talk directly to former classmates, not introduce them endlessly to El Spouse-o. So "trailing spouses" envision a deadly evening of standing alone in the corner and picking at the dip.
Richard solved this problem in very clever fashion. When he accompanied his wife to her recent high school reunion, Richard filled out his name tag as follows:
"I was dragged here by Ronnie Ferris."
"I was a big hit," Richard says. "I met many friendly people. We all enjoyed ourselves."
From "a history student at the University of Maryland," via e-mail:
"Without the freedom of newspapers to say what they think, the rest of us would not have the freedom to say what we think of newspapers."