DEAR VISITOR for the inauguration, Welcome to Washington. I would like to tell you a few things about the town:
The average person here lives just as you think. He or she works two hours a day for the government, makes more than $100,000 a year and just pretends to be tired and broke to be like everyone else.
Washingtonians run marathons, eat enormously expensive lunches, live in $800,000 homes, drive Mercedes cars, shop at Bloomingdale's, drink champagne for breakfast, wine for lunch and can't remember what they had for dinner. There are no exceptions.
People here think no building in Washington can be higher than the Washington Monument.
Washington is divided into four geographical zones of which three are thought not to exist. The remaining one is called Northwest. It starts at the Capitol and ends in Fairfield County, Conn.
People here think no building in Washington can be higher than the Capitol.
The name of the town is Silver Spring, not Silver Springs. The name of the county is Prince George's, not Prince George. Tell them how much you like it there.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is buried in Rockville.
James Thurber lived in Falls Church.
Al Jolson, Helen Hayes, J. Edgar Hoover and Duke Ellington were born in Washington. Only J. Edgar Hoover has a federal building named after him. Shows you the kind of town Washington is.
There is no tour of The Bureaucracy.
Constitution Avenue and Independence Avenue change places during the night.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's grave is scheduled to become a condominium.
People here think no building in Washington can be higher than the National Cathedral.
Washington cabs don't have meters. They barely have drivers. You pay what you are asked. It is advised.
Northern Virginia is west of Washington. It is not south of Washington. Brazil is south of Washington and the weather is better.
The Capital Beltway is called The Beltway. I-95 is called Shirley Highway. Shirley Highway was a camp follower in the Civil War. She went south, died and is buried in Brazil.
The Yellow Cabs are black and orange. The Checker cabs aren't checkers.
They are yellow instead.
The Washingtonian Hotel is in Maryland. Washington Natinal Airport is in Virginia. Most things named Washington are not in Washington. This includes George. He's in Virginia, too.
People here think no building in Washington can have more than 12 stories.
Blair House was named after Col. House.
Some streets in Washington go one-way during the rush hour. You will know them when you see traffic coming straight at you. Do not park illegally in Washington. You will be towed. Do not part illegally in Washington. You will be towed.
People here think no building in Washington can be more than 130 feet high.
Woodward & Lothrop is called Woodies. Pennsylvania Avenue is called The Avenue. City Hall is called the District Building. The Skins play football and home is where you're originaly from.
All streets in Washington are either numbered or lettered in alphabetical order. All you have to do to find a place is count the number of syllables in a street name, count up your fingers until you get to the appropriate number in the alphabet and then divide the house number by your height. Either that, or take a cab.
The streets on Capitol Hill are picked up every night and then set down in a different order. This is an old tradition.
The zoo is patrolled by the Zoo Police, the aqueduct by the Aqueduct Police, the Capitol by the Capitol Police, the parks by the Park Police, the White House by the White House Police, the embassies by the Embassy Police and the regular police have what is left. If you get into trouble, be sure to call the right police or you will be arrested.
Most of the avenues in Washington are named after states. An exception is California. It is a street. Maybe this will change.
No planes may land at Washington National Airport after 10 p.m. The exceptions are planes that are late or scheduled or particularly noisy. All other planes must land at Dulles which is to the WEST in Virginia. To get there, take a short flight from National.
The freeways in the city don't go anywhere. The subway doesn't stop at the airport terminal. The train station is a Visitor's Center and if you see someone taking off their shoes at the Mormon Temple, you're at the Mosque.
Ignore the sign restricting parking at one National Airport lot to members of the Supreme Court, the Congress and the diplomatic corps. They don't really mean it.
People here think no building in Washington can be higher than the width of Pennsylvanie Avenue.
If you see Georgetown spelled Georgetowne, it means that the store is expensive.
People who live in Washington say they live in the District. People who live in the suburbs say they live in Washington. People who live in both places say they like it. It's the weather.