An irritation for the thousands who go in and out of the State Department each day is the building's inconvenient location in Foggy Bottom. People rushing to other appointments often find that "you can't get there from here" and can wind up walking several blocks in search of a cab.

The one oasis of relief can be found at the department's 21st Street entrance, where a large U-shaped driveway off the street does permit some cabs to pull in and wait for passengers. However, the D.C. Police Department has embarked on a campaign to drive the cabs away by ticketing them for "loitering in a public space."

Officer Vincent Cerverizzo of the police traffic bureau explained, "It's not an authorized cab stand, so it's illegal. If the State Department wants cabs, it should ask the city to put up an official cab stand. Otherwise, we'll be out there ticketing them because it's the law. You want the law enforced, don't you?"

All of which is likely to make people trudging through the December wind in search of a taxi agree with the observation of Mr. Bumble in "Oliver Twist": "If the law supposes that, the law is a ass, a idiot."