Message to the stunning blonde on the bicycle who disregarded a "Stop" sign yesterday and charged into the path of my car:

My '74 automobile weighs 2 pounds more than an aircraft carrier. If you had been struck by it, you would have been mangled.

Fortunately, I am a defensive driver. Despite my age, I am alert and not totally devoid of driving skill. I managed to avoid hitting you.

You're much too pretty to die at such a tender age. Tell me why you deliberately provoked that confrontation. As you came out of the side street into the main highway, you saw the "Stop" sign that faced you. And you saw me. In fact you looked me right in the eye and dared me to "play chicken" with you. Why? What did you gain by risking death? Suppose I hadn't been able to react quickly enough to stop in time? Suppose the driver behind me had smacked into the rear end of my car and propelled it into you?

We're told that young males do things of this kind because they feel they must prove their manhood. But what's the rationale when supposedly sensible females tempt fate? POSTSCRIPT

I am a member of the minority that drives at posted speed limits. There are so few of us that I sometimes get the feeling I'm part of one of those bizarre California cults.

I have a suggestion for those of you who are in the 90 percent majority that ignores speed limits:

Give some thought to switching to our style of driving.Try it. You might like it.

Pick a day on which you have several minutes to spare.

Begin your journey in a relaxed frame of mind and make it a point to obey all traffic laws.

For once in your life, don't attempt to set a speed record. Drive no faster than the legal limit. Drive at less than the limit if highway conditions indicate need for special caution.

Be observant. Note the number of drivers who turn left from the right lane and right from the left lane. Count how many turn without signaling, and how many signal only after they have stopped to await an opportunity to turn. Observe how many are impatient with you for obeying speed limits, and how many take pains to make you aware of their displeasure. Maintain your calm demeanor, if you can, as other drivers dart from lane to lane to save a fraction of a second.

With luck, you might even get to see a driver come to a complete stop voluntarily at a "Stop" sign. The key word here is voluntarily, of course. Many vehicles are forced to stop by traffic. The rare bird is the driver who really stops at "Stop" signs, or before turning right on a red light, even when there's nobody else around.

For a full appreciation of your test drive, try it when you are truly free of time pressure.

During that peaceful and unhurried period, the conduct of other drivers may begin to seem strange to you.

You may find yourself wondering, "Why do they take such foolish chances? How many seconds do they think they can save, and what will they do with those tiny scraps of time if they live long enough to use them?"

If, on the other hand, you conduct your experiment while you, like others on the highway, are under time pressure, you're more likely to wonder, "Why don't these idiots get out of my way and let me make some time?"

In short, unless you can begin your test drive in a relaxed mood, you're not going to get much benefit from it. THEN AND NOW

Martha M. Camden of Silver Spring was cleaning out some old papers when she came across several items that held her interest.

A copy of an old lease showed she had paid $67 a month for an apartment. A bill from a dairy indicated she paid 18 cents a quart for milk delivered to her door. A 12-ounce carton of cottage cheese was 29 cents.

Ancient history? Not really. Martha's records were dated 1951.

Incidentally, bridge whiz Fred Karpin was also doing some housecleaning recently and came across an honest-to-goodness penny post card (or, to be technically accurate, postal card). The card carried the Post Office Department's official 1-cent imprint and sold for a penny.

That was also in 1951. Today a postal card costs 10 times as much, and there's talk of raising the price again. POLITICAL NEWS

Wendell Trogdon says Ronald Reagan hopes to balance the government's budget "if he can borrow enough to get himself elected first." BRIGHTER SIDE

If it annoys you to have to set your digital watch an hour ahead in the spring, be grateful you don't live in Iran -- where you'd have to set it back 1,200 years.