As Levey regulars well know, parenthood is one of my passions. I love being a Dad, even when bad dreams descend at 3 a.m., even when I read Little Peep for the 300th time rather than that day's paper for the first, even when a certain little person announces that I'm a "dirty rotten yukhead" because I nixed an ice cream cone.

Nor do I mind the chores that many non-parents find revolting, like changing diapers.

But you don't turn in your membership card in the human race just because you become a parent. Unfortunately, someone forgot to reveal this to a woman out in Columbia.

The scene was Clyde's, one of Columbia's tonier restaurants. Karen Davis of Silver Spring was enjoying a lesisurely dinner with her husband. Suddenly, she wasn't enjoying much of anything.

A Mom at the next table needed to change her child's diaper. She decided that the tabletop was the right place to do that. So, without apology or delay, Mom plopped Junior up where at least eight tables full of diners could see everything.

I realize a good number of you are reading this at the breakfast table, so I'll be gentle about the next piece of information. The diaper that the Mom removed from Junior was, as they say, full.

Karen didn't say anything to the Mom, although she certainly wanted to. No other nearby diner/viewer did, either. But I'm not sure a lecture, a nudge or even a screaming fit would have done much good. Any Mom who is obtuse enough to change her baby's diaper in full view of a crowded restaurant may be beyond help.

Clyde's management was as surprised to hear about the incident as Karen was to have seen it.

"We don't permit that sort of thing here," said general manager John Mancuso. "I would have them use my office before letting them do it on the table." John speculated that, because Clyde's is fairly spacious, the manager on duty at the time had not seen the Mom changing the diaper.

Tim Driscoll, executive director of the Washington Restaurant and Beverage Association, said WRBA has no fixed where-to-diaper policy.

"It's the restaurant owner and manager's problem to tell the party to use the bathroom," Tim said. He added that it was the first time he'd ever heard of such a thing at a D.C.-area restaurant.

Dear Columbia Mom: Let's hope it's the last.

Your District Government at work:

In May, 1985, Suzanne Bowden's car was stolen from the corner of 26th and I Streets NW. She never heard another word about the vehicle -- until last week.

In her mailbox was a bill from the D.C. Department of Public Works, for $200. Why the charge? Because Suzanne's car had been seen parked on the sidewalk near 21st and I Streets NE, in violation of D.C. law, DPW reported.

And when was the car parked on that Northeast sidewalk?

In August, 1985.

Why didn't DPW crosscheck the car with the police department's stolen vehicles computer log, to see if maybe the vehicle should be returned to its rightful owner rather than dunned?

Because DPW doesn't crosscheck with the police. Or with the D.C. Department of Transportation. Nor does it have any intention of starting. Budget strictures, you know.

We won't ask why it took DPW more than two years to get the bill into Suzanne's hands. But we will ask this final question:

Do you think Suzanne has any intention of paying the $200? You get only one guess . . . .

No, this has not become a permanent feature of this column. But you can be forgiven for thinking that it has. Maybe it's sunspots. Maybe it's the ravages of age. But I must correct another error.

Despite what I wrote (and I wrote it because our library swore it was true), the most expensive tickets to the National Theatre's production of "Cats" were $40 apiece, not $60 apiece.

LuAnne P. Origer, the National's director of group sales, put it this way:

"Theater tickets are expensive enough without giving the public the idea that prices are exorbitant and totally beyond their means."

Sorry, LuAnne and fellow National-ists, if I gave that impression.

My kind of bumper sticker, spied by Judy Proctor of Northeast:


From the master-and-still-champion, Herb Caen of The San Francisco Chronicle:

A reader of Herb's says he turned to his fiance and asked playfully whether she would still love him if he went broke.

"Yes," she replied, "and I'd miss you, too."