The more time I spend in Washington, the more I am convinced that everyone inside the Beltway is incapable of dealing with any kind of adversity.

When I first heard that 10-digit dialing was coming to this area, it should have occurred to me that a city paralyzed by a 2-inch snowfall would be unable to cope with dialing three extra digits. But no, I thought, even Washington could handle such a simple change.

Wrong. Having lived in a suburb of Chicago most of my life, I got used to seeing main streets cleared in less than 24 hours after a snowfall, whereas in Washington, exhaust from cars is used to melt snow over time. Washingtonians apparently approach phones with the same degree of competency.

Last year, the 312 area code was split, and residents of the Chicago area began dialing four extra digits between the city and the suburbs. C&P telephone, apparently realizing that three digits would be as much as Washington could handle, allows its customers to make phone calls without dialing "1," a step Illinois Bell insisted upon. New York and Los Angeles are other examples of split area codes that have worked well, with little or no complaint from the users.

But this is Washington, and The Post is full of wimps worrying about being able to remember to dial 202, 301 or 703. If people want to enjoy new communications technology, they must pay the price of dialing three extra digits. I, for one, am not willing to give up my pager so that Bob Levey can dial Rosslyn from Georgetown using only seven digits {Bob Levey's Washington, Sept. 27}, and I don't think that any car phone user would give up the convenience for "short" phone numbers.

Grow up, Washington. Maybe the rest of the country will start to take you seriously if you stop complaining so much. P. J. GERAGHTY Washington