On Monday many area residents were doing their best to bolster Washington's reputation as the City That Goes Belly-Up at the Word ``Flurry.'' A 10-inch snow on top of a 12-inch base turned main streets into parking lots, side streets into sledding hills, and the office into an unreachable goal.
Typical was a suburban Virginia resident who tried to turn his Mazda into a Jeep. It lay on top of a snowbank, wheels spinning pitifully in the air.
``I thought I could just burst through,'' he said. He had no gloves, hat, or scarf, and was wearing sneakers. He had remembered his overcoat.
Diplomats from nations where snow is rarer than a free election in China walked daintily about in thin dress shoes, taking photographs. They were having a good time. Their shivering small dogs were not.
One such woman stopped a passerby and asked him to take her picture. She posed in front of a particularly mammoth drift. ``It's for my father at home in Brazil,'' she said.
Yuppies who had purchased cross-country skies three years ago on a whim used them to struggle to work, feeling virtuous. For at least one congressional aide with a new four-wheel drive the snow was a heaven-sent opportunity to justify the expense to his wife.
But one of the merriest places in the wake of the storm was the new Soviet embassy compound north of Georgetown.
Late on Sunday night Soviet children in bright winter suits were rooting loudly in the snow, while doting parents looked on.
They were at it again early Monday morning (while their American counterparts were still fast asleep) screaming in Russian and undoubtedly dreaming of the playfields of their homeland.
The Soviets hardly ever venture out by themselves. Thus it was something of a minor rapprochement when in the middle of the storm a lone Russian diplomat suddenly appeared in front of the compound's fence, and joined passersby in pushing out a stuck Volkswagon. He strode off into the falling snow, saying nothing but smiling shyly.