On Tuesday I was heading into the subway when I was faced with a snap decision - the doors were closing and I could leap towards the train and probably end up being caught in the doors or just stand there and wait. In a move that should surprise no one I made the leap and the doors closed on me as I was halfway through. They opened again of course as I squeezed myself onto the train and then a few seconds later we all chugged on our merry way south. Then I began thinking about whether or not this makes me a jerk for making everybody else wait a few extra seconds to get on their way.
Obviously the inconvenience I cause to others is small but there are a lot of others being inconvenienced. I estimated that there were two hundred people on the train and that my little escapade delayed their travel by about four seconds. Eight hundred seconds of delay is roughly thirteen minutes of wasted time and since the next train is likely to come along in six minutes or so I wasted seven minutes of total human time. Mathematically speaking it looks like I am a jerk.
There are complications of course. If there is already somebody else getting caught in the doors and delaying the train then my aggressive move costs nothing and is entirely pragmatic. This scenario seems highly unlikely given the particulars of the platform I was on but is not out of the question. The more relevant issue is the probability that I make it just in time and avoid catching myself on the doors. Clearly in retrospect that probability is 100% but when making the decision I did not know that; I knew for sure that I would get on that train but not how clean the entry would be.
I wonder if I am the only one who reacts to getting caught in train doors by counting the other passengers so I can determine if I am a bad person or not.