Jean Diver and Charlie Cote lay on the brick sidewalk at 21st and O streets NW, eyes closed, legs slicked with suntan lotion, a radio blaring a lighthearted tune.

"I'm hot," said Diver, 22, a student at Corcoran School of Art. "Are my cheeks rosy yet?"

"Be quiet," Cote mumbled without opening his eyes, the perfect picture of summer lassitude.

Call it unseasonable. Call it unreasonable. Nobody cared.

Yesterday's high was 73 degrees, the skies were blue, and Washington was a city transformed.

Shorts and, in some cases, bathing suits replaced the cold-weather uniform of scratchy scarves and bulky coats. Dour expressions of the winter-weary changed to carefree smiles. Instead of the wintertime scuttle to shelter, people strolled aimlessly, window-shopping, not caring what they did as long as they did it outdoors.

Heat records were set in some places yesterday. At National Airport, the 73-degree high did not topple the 1874 record of 78 degrees for the date. But in downtown Baltimore an 111-year-old record of 78 degrees was broken by a 79-degree reading, and at Dulles International Airport the reading of 73 degrees nudged aside the previous record: 71 degrees, set in 1977.

Although the calendar will dictate more blustery, bone-chilling days to come, they won't come soon, according to the National Weather Service. Through Thursday, forecasters are predicting afternoon highs in the 60s, a full 20 degrees above routine late-February temperatures.