When I first came here I didn't know anything about the Senate, its members or its power.

Popsie Tribble doesn't mix much with those on the Hill, but she gave me some pointers notwithstanding.

1)The Senate is part of Congress.

2)You can't get a Scotch Mist in the Senate Dining Room, but you can get your photograph taken.

3)Senators always come late, if at all, to dinner. "And," she added, "don't feel hurt if they won't come to your embassy. When did the Canadian government last contribute to their campaigns? And let's face it," she said, lighting her Balkan Sobranie, "Mr. Ambassador needs them more than they need him. You don't vote so you can't deal. Which means your country is zero on a senator's priority list. It would be best for his ego if Mr. Ambassador avoided the Senate completely."

Despite Popsie's advice, he does make his visits to the Hill. It's not all that bad waiting in the anteroom of a senator's office, because Mr. Ambassador gets to meet so many different kinds of people. (The Senate staffers have a tendency to overbook, like the airlines.) Waiting with him are Boy Scouts, mothers of fund-raisers, office seekers, mostly from the home state, and Joe Promisall, the lobbyist or one of his proxies.

Sometimes there are young people with sleeping bags who look as if they might spend the night. Mr. Ambassador doesn't mind waiting (senators are never on time, even on their home turf) because the female staffers are usually good-looking. He often wonders if the senator picks them personally.

Beverly, senators must be careful about their public image because they have to get elected every six years, something like the president of France. A local magazine recently sent a questionnaire to all the senators asking them details about their private lives. Popsie thinks some of them were a little overcautious in their answers, which, in her opinion, would make them appeal only to the wimp vote in their respective states.

Sen. Pod came out as a real Caspar Milquetoast. This is puzzling because he told me himself there were no wimps in his constituency.

Popsie has her own view of Sen. Pod, which differs from the magazine's. Let me describe how he, or his staffer, or possibly "wife of," dealt with the questions and then what Popsie says.

Bad Habits (Magazine)

Eats chocolate. Has holes in his socks. Is consistently early for appointments!

Bad Habits (Popsie Tribble)

Only talks about himself. (I presume Popsie once sat beside him at dinner.) Is consistently late. Drink (Magazine)

Orange juice. There's an especially good orange juice made by a factory in his home state that the senator always keeps on hand.

Drink (Popsie Tribble)

Likes martinis straight up in a five-finger tumbler.

Style of Dress (Magazine)

Conservative but casual. Buys all his clothes from a little haberdasher in his home state.

Style of Dress (Popsie Tribble)

She saw him buying a yellow cashmere coat in that men's store on Fifth Avenue in New York where you have to make an appointment to get in.

Hero (Magazine)

Giuseppe Delano Norseman. (You and I and Popsie don't know this person. But "wife of" guesses he must be a famous historical figure among some ethnic group in his home state, who always votes Democratic.)

Hero (Popsie Tribble)

Sounds right.

Vacation Spot (Magazine)

Famous river in home State.

Vacation spot (Popsie Tribble)

She saw him tanning naked on Mustique, an island in the Grenadines.

Aspirations After the Senate (Magazine)

Savoring life by a famous river in his home state.

Aspirations (Popsie Tribble)

Says he's negotiating right now with Sonny Goldstone, the Gilded Bachelor and Social Asset. Looking for a five-figure income apr

Closest Friend (Magazine)

"Wife of" Pod and his Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Closest Friend (Popsie)

Pretty staffer in his office.

Spouse's Job Interest (Magazine)

Runs a nonprofit organization for indigent lumbermen (lumber is big in his home state) and writes a chatty newsletter to constituents.

Spouse's Job Interest (Popsie)

Hard to say. She hasn't been seen in public for the last three years. Maybe he killed her.

Favorite Food (Magazine)

McDonald's hamburgers.

Favorite Food (Popsie)

Loves fresh Russian caviar. When her Dexter was Roving Ambassador, Sen. Pod always asked him to bring back a kilo or two. Pod usually confirms Dexter's jobs in the administration.

Books (Magazine)

Anything of an uplifiting nature. The Bible and biographies of Lincoln, Churchill and Roosevelt.

Books (Popsie)

She saw him buying Penthouse in People's Drug Store on Dupont Circle. (I can't believe this, Beverly, because Popsie never goes to drug stores. I think she's just being spiteful.)

We'll never know which is the real Sen. Pod, Beverly -- the wishy-washy version in the magazine or Popsie's description. One thing is clear. Popsie's keeping a secret file in case he runs for president.

Your best friend,