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Apropos Of Nothing

This has been bugging me for weeks: There are two elevators in the building that houses The Stash world headquarters. Only one of them goes down to the basement, which various delivery and maintenance people use to deliver and maintain various things. But when both elevators are at rest in the lobby, and you press the "up" button, you invariably get the one that has this added "down" capability. (Or maybe not invariably, but at least half the time.) Does that make any sense? If both go up and only one goes down, and both are there waiting for you, why wouldn't the elevators be programmed so that you always get the other one? So that the person who shows up half a second later needing to go to the basement doesn't have to wait for you to travel up and down 11 floors before they can go down a single one? I took exactly one semester of computer science in college, but I'm pretty sure I could write this line of code...

Another random thing: I'm walking from my house in the U Street neighborhood of Washington to a coffee shop this morning. (Actually, it's not really U Street--it's kind of south of U Street, east of Dupont Circle, north of Logan circle. We never know what to call it--SUSEDuCiNoLo doesn't quite roll off the tongue.) It turns out the semi-hipster coffee shop I go to once every six months for free wireless is closed. But, half a block away, there's a kinda chic new restaurant opening up, called ... wait for it ... "Policy." Given the local economy here, I guess it makes sense that they're closing hipster coffee shops and opening restaurants for wonkish foodies, but I'm still a bit skeptical. (Then again, it's not far from my favorite too-cool-for-its-own-good bar, Discretionary Cap Adjustment, so it's not crazy...) 

P.S. This reminds me to direct you to my favorite story ever written about elevators. (Seriously, it's good. By The New Yorker's Nick Paumgarten.)

P.P.S. It occurs to me you may have learned more about me in this post than in the previous two-plus weeks of The Stash. Or, for that matter, the previous six-plus years I've been blogging at TNR.

Update: Commenter teplukhin makes a great point (at least I think this is what he's saying): You may not want to make it too easy/efficient for the basement users to go down, because then they'd spend too little time waiting relative to the large, non-basement-using majority and create inefficiently long waits for the rest of us. So the optimal algorithm may in fact be to use the up-and-down elevator about half the time even when both are in the lobby.

Still, given the weight of the other empirical evidence, I refuse to believe our building is this rational.

Update II: Ah, looks like we've named ourselves after all. Who knew?

--Noam Scheiber