Can anyone possibly miss Washington in August, especially if that someone lives in Malibu, where each August eve miracle of meteorological grace? Here, where I have hung out for the last seven years, August is the kindest in foggy and cool, warm up to a crystal blue by noon, and shine on into the evening. The air is dry and fresh walk outside at 3 in the afternoon in wool or cotton and feel equally comfortable. At night, the air turns cribut never cool enough to chill. However bad the weather in Washington is in August, that's how good it is in Sthe same month.

And yet and yet . . . I was born in Washington 38 years ago, and I spent almost all of my fround it. And I miss them--yes, the Augusts.

In August I keep waking up, year after year, wishing I could drnd watch picnickers who look as if they are not waiting for a chance to kill someone like the picnickers on Mahing I could walk through that most pleasant of all neighborhoods on Earth, Wesley Heights, across Foxhall Roak and throw a stick for my dogs, Martha, Trixie and Ginger. In that park, at 7 on an August evening, the rain k would be wet and fresh, and my dogs and I would be alone in a small green valley three miles from the White ere are no parks where dogs are permitted that are safe for the dogs' master. Here on the beach, my neighbors,rse, keep attack-trained Japanese killer dogs, Akitas, waiting to pounce on my large but sweet-natured hounds.

Almost every evening I tell my wife that I wish we could drive to Martin's Dairy outside Wheaton for an ice cream cone. I don't know if it's even there now. I have an aching, unquenchable wish for a pizza from the Pizza Oven on Georgia Avenue in Montgomeryf lobster p at'e at La Serre, sitting across the room from Clint Eastwood, makes up for that heavenly pizza and it tastes just as good in Au weekends come I take out my atlas and figure out how long it would take to drive to Rehoboth Beach. I always minutes that it is about five days from Los Angeles, even though it's only two and a half hours from Silver Sphe overwhelming majesty of Big Sur or Santa Cruz, has ever moved me the way the Eastern Shore does. Rolling off the bridge onto Kendscape and the buildings and the people peel off reality and its cares. They are replaced with storybook versave been if you were living in a time without television, John Travolta, videogames or PCBs, but with a 1983-ste the Lions' Club chicken barbecues on Route 404 heading through Delaware, even though the last one I sat at at was in August, too.

My wife and I eat at restaurants almost every night. We point out the heads of produe British movie stars with their wives and girlfriends, the rock stars with their spiked hair. But the food cod as the French fries at George's Lunch on Rehoboth Avenue, where, 27 years ago, I sat next to Estes Kefauver put salt or vinegar on the potatoes and that was in August, too.

I eat most of my lunches at The Palm, wheryself shriek from the agents and producers shrieking their demands at each other next to my table. Incredibly ried turbot and green beans and mashed potatoes and lemonade, plus a bread and butter plate for a dollar thirta, and many of those meals were in August, too.

My wife and I employ two young women who do our errands alle can spend all our time pleading with studios for deals, a only way to live in Los Angeles. But I miss meandering down the aisles at the Georgetown Safeway, running intd women who look as if they would not kill to make the next payment on their Rolls convertible, which is the meverly Hills. I miss the helpful salespeople at the 14th Street Garfinckel's, who do not ask if I have sold anho do not feel offended if you buy a wool blazer instead of a cashmere model.

That, at the bottom, is the nub of it. Certainly, I do not miss the humidity and certainly some of what I do miss is just the past. But all of what I miss, the parks, the Eastern Shore, the neighbors who do not look as if they would just as soon take drugs as not, is about something in Washington. It all seems, in memory, safe and sane and manageable. It seems, in my memories, even in August, the home of people who have not been driven mad by ambition, who still remember that life is and always will be finite, and that they might just as well try to act pleasantly while they are here.

Even in August, it seems like a town of people who havme grace of the moment, in making a pizza or selling a blazer or buying groceries at the Safeway. Now I live iweather conspires to make otherwise sane people believe that they can have everything, all at once, now and fom crazy.