Cornelia Hollander of Cleveland Park says she is "an old lady, growing older neither gratefully nor graciously." She doesn't drive and finds the first step of buses a little high for her arthritic legs to reach . . . . So she depends on taxis to get around (which, as all River Citians know, demands a soul of steel), and on a bountiful budget, if Cornelia ever got sick enough to require multiple trips to a doctor's office. So imagine her surprise to receive a form letter the other day from Dr. Frank A. Finnerty Jr., her internist . . . . "If you find it impossible to come to my office, I will try to make a home visit," the doc announced to his patients . . . . Dr. Finnerty adopted this policy after stepping in a hole last February and rupturing his Achilles' tendon. The injury required cast and crutches for weeks . . . . "Simple things became very difficult," the doc says. "And I realized that some people must have a hell of a time getting to a doctor . . . . I'm not a do-gooder," Dr. F. insists. "I wouldn't have realized it {the need for house calls} if I hadn't had the same experience." Still, here's a doc who deserves a large tip of the stethoscope . . . .

Logic, D.C. Department of Transportation style . . . . A reader waltzed up to her car, which was parked near Georgetown University, to discover one of D.C.'s Blue Crew writing a ticket. However, there wasn't a 'No Parking' sign anywhere in view . . . . Asked about this, the ticketer walked behind a nearby tree and pointed. The 'No Parking' sign was there. No way you could have seen it from the street. My reader asked why the sign was hidden. "The Georgetown students are always moving it," came the reply . . . . So my reader had to pay a $20 fine (or kill half a day of annual leave fighting it) because the Transportation Department is incapable of anchoring a no parking sign . . . .

Speaking of parking . . . those who try to do it legally only discover that the system won't cooperate. Consider the case of Fred Schattenstein. "One day last week," Fred writes, "My wife and I gathered our eight-week-old daughter and left for the Mall at 9:15 a.m. to park on Jefferson Drive or Madison Drive when it becomes legal at 10 a.m. . . . . At 9:45, we arrived. No vacancies. And U.S. Park Police everywhere, socializing but doing nothing. Why?" Says a Park Police spokesman: "We'll look into it." Says I: How about this day, this minute?

To balance the scales a bit, here's a public employe (name unknown) who took the rules into his own hands, but who deserves applause . . . . Ann Morris says it's great to leave the parking lot of Arlington Hospital. First thing you see is a stop sign, upon which someone has carefully painted a smiley-face . . . . "Just what people leaving a hospital need to see," says Ann . . . .

Go get 'em, Abbie Jones of Silver Spring. She won the regional speechmaking finals of Toastmasters International on June 27, and competes for the world title in Chicago next month . . . .

If You Can't Lick 'Em, Fingerlick 'Em . . . . Ralph Rienzo of Fairfax tells of a teen-aged boy he encountered aboard an Orange Line train to Vienna the other night . . . . Kid is gobbling an eight-pack of Kentucky Fried Chicken as if the stuff were going out of style . . . . Ralph points out to the kid that eating aboard subway trains is illegal. Kid refuses to stop. Other passengers plead with kid to stop. Kid still refuses . . . . Finally another teen-aged boy walks over and asks for a piece of chicken. Kentucky Fried Kid obliges with a drumstick. Second kid wolfs it in two bites, then announces to the car: "I did it because it would make him stop eating faster . . . . "

And while we're subwaying . . . . When is Metro going to triple the size of the KEEP RIGHT signs at the beginnings of escalators? You can't obey what you can't see . . . .

A lot of people think the budget battles in the District government have very little effect on their lives. If you're a tourist, you know how false that is . . . . Drop by the Visitors Center on 14th Street, near the Commerce Department, and ask for a D.C. map. They'll give you one, all right -- a map dated 1980 . . . . It doesn't show the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. And it claims that Health and Human Services is still called Health, Education and Welfare . . . . Why not issue a new map? Because it would cost $65,000, says D.C. Department of Public Works spokeswoman Tara Hamilton, and the funds haven't been available since 1980 . . . . By the way, tourists, better D.C. maps do exist, and close by at the Washington Area Convention and Visitors Association has them, 1575 I St. NW. So does a WACVA branch outlet inside the Commerce Department.

Gail Siegel of Alexandria noticed a car on Pickett Street that was a contradiction on wheels . . . . On the bumper was a sticker that said: LOSE WEIGHT NOW, ASK ME HOW . . . . On the roof was a sign that said: DOMINO'S PIZZA . . . .