I usually carry a small assortment of tech when I work off-site:
-Credit card: For reimbursable purchases and the occasional personal purchase.
-Cellphone: To receive/send calls to the office.
-Laptop: During those times I want to get work done when away from the office.
-Nintendo DS: During those other times I don’t.
It was a on a typical Wednesday afternoon that I remembered that the post office was holding a package for me. It was my day off and aside from this little errand, I could enjoy an entire day of relaxation and personal chores at home. So at 4:00, I hopped into my car for what was supposed to be a 15-minute drive and possibly a 15-minute wait at the post office. As it was still my day off, I decided to leave my tech at home. What was the worst that could happen?
I drove for about five minutes before I heard a strange pop from the back of my Toyota. I thought nothing of it at the time-things tend to go pop behind me whether it is loose road gravel or a shooting I’m imagining behind me. I noticed things were rather lopsided in my car as I waited for a stoplight to turn green. I pulled over and inspected the car and saw what I did not want to see: The shredded remains of what used to resemble my right rear tire somehow clinging to where one is supposed to find a right rear tire attached to a car.
I had a lot to say in reaction to this turn of events. But after removing the curse words, I wound up saying nothing.
Probably the only good thing about this ruined tire was how close I was to my local tire repair shop. I limped my car into the service bay and asked for customer service. The clerk approached my vehicle and asked me what was wrong. It took a lot to control my sassy mouth to berate him for not noticing that my four-wheel car parked in front of him pretty much had only three tires. I managed to control myself as he penciled me into replace two tires within the hour. The only thing left to do was pay for it.
Since it was only a short errand with no detours or shopping planned, all I had in my wallet was my license to identify myself to the post office to get my package. I had no credit card to pay for the repairs. Nor did I have a phone to call up anyone I knew to spot me some cash. I was glad it was my day off so at least I would not have to call the office and claim car trouble for missing work like I did last week when I decided to go golfing instead. Lacking liquid assets on hand, my main option was to hit the nearest ATM, but even that was not an option since I lacked an ATM card. So it was off to the bank I went. Lacking a car, the short hop, skip, and jump to the bank was about two miles one way. At least my license helped me withdraw enough cash for it. About the only good parts of this trek were my increased physical activity and number of steps generated on my Pokewalker.
Money in hand, all that was left was waiting for the repairs to finish. The time spent away from the distractions at the office or at home provided an excellent opportunity to get some flipping writing work done… had I actually brought my laptop. Even video games could not kill about 20 minutes of time. According to the mechanic who came to tell me my car was done, he found me passed out at the waiting room reading an old Time magazine while Jerry Springer played on the television. Not exactly the best use of my time. So I guess the main lesson to take out of this first hand experience is “Be Prepared.” Though I think the Boy Scouts of America already use that motto.
And to add salt to the wound, the post office was closed by the time my car was repaired.