I was driving home from a short weekend excursion when the alternator in my car died, 100 kms from home. 40 kms later the battery was dead, my car pulled up at the side of the road, night falling (not fun when you don't even have the hazard flashers) and I only hoped that the battery in my daughter's DVD player will survive.
Fortunately, my family lives nearby, so we were quickly picked up, stayed for the night and had unplanned one day vacations.
It would be much less fun if it happened somewhere in the middle of Poland, when I was driving back (or towards!) vacations 2 weeks ago. Just calling a towing service is not so obvious option if you travel with a 2-year-old - tow cars are not suited for traveling with small children.
This event gave me a lot of free time to come up with a few thoughts:
- It's a bad idea to be the only person responsible for generating invoices etc. If you can't do it automatically, at least make some arrangements so that you are not the only person responsible for it. Having somebody that will cover for you when you ask is not enough - you may be unable to ask. Being indispensible is good when you are an employee, not when you run a business.
- Have your iPhone battery charged when you travel - recharge it at every opportunity.
- We depend on electrical gadgets too much. Electrical-only lock on the trunk hatch is cool until you need to get to the warning triangle stored in your trunk and you can't because the battery is dead (and so are the warning flashers)
- Google is a lot less helpful if you qualify your "auto service nearby" query with "open on Sunday evenings"
- I am so used to having all sorts of backups on the Internet (mail, documents, pictures, source code, long term memory) that it gets really frightening when I realize that I cannot restore my car engine from any online backup...
- Be always prepared that your trip will last a day or two longer than expected. Having a few extra pieces of clothes is one thing, but taking into account that you might not make it to the office on Monday morning is equally important. And always take your laptop with you no matter what your wife says ;-)