A reader, Joseph A. Pappano, who lives on Scott Circle NW, thinks he can top Metro Scene's recent story of a car -- later discovered to have been reported stolen -- that sat for two weeks in a downtown tow-away zone on 15th Street, sprouting parking tickets like dandelions in springtime.

"A 1973 Mercury station wagon . . . has been parked since November on the east side of the 1200 block of 16th Street NW near the National Educational Association," just north of M Street, he wrote.

"As of last Monday , a total of 11 parking tickets have been placed under the windshield wipers of that automobile, which bears D.C. license plate number . . . "

Pappano questioned whether the car was stolen or abandoned, or if there is another explanation. And did the authorities try to check on its status or that of its registered owner?

We dropped by yesterday and found the car still there, parked in a zone marked "No Parking 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m." on weekdays. There were 10 tickets still on the windshield, dated Nov. 12, 22, 25 and 26 and Dec. 3, 5 (two tickets), 6, 11 and 26. Half were issued by Public Works Department parking enforcement agents, half by D.C. police. Most were for $20 parking violations, one for $50 for failure to have the car inspected.

Assuming the first violation occurred Nov. 12, that leaves 26 nonholiday weekdays on which the car should have gotten additional tickets but didn't.

"It would appear that local parking meter personnel in doing nothing about this egregious violation are blindly following a set of nonsensical guidelines," reader Pappano commented. "How do we go about effecting a change?" We'll ask city officials tomorrow.

The police auto theft squad said the car hadn't been reported stolen. Efforts by this column to reach the registered ownner were not successful.