Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Front Runner

I used to play a game of sorts when I was waiting for an elevator when there were two or more cars in a building or on a cruise ship: which would be the first to arrive at my floor?

You need indicators, of course, and then the fun begins. It helps pass the waiting time and, if you are a gambling person and meet another such creature, might turn a little coin for one of you.

You’re on the main floor and you push the “up” button. The cars are on floors 8 and 7 going up and down, respectively. You know, from experience, that it’s the least likely car at any particular moment which will reach you. Right now, 8 is it. So 7 comes down to floor 5; 8 goes up to 9 and shoots down to 4. Then 5 drops to 3, while 4 goes to 2. Now 3 goes to B and 2 stays where it is. They both arrive at the main floor together and all bets are off.

It’s even more fun when there are four cars in a cruise ship and they can stay stuck on a floor for what seems like several minutes. They shoot past your floor, they stay at the floor above or below you, then the car down in the crew quarters comes express right to your floor and goes express to where you are going.

As I said, it’s fun. It’s not a cure for anything, it doesn’t advance world peace, you don’t learn anything useful. But it beats pressing the button over and over.


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