Casualties of Mercury Retrograde so far:
- My keyboard magically got stuck on the “k” key and would not get off.
- I got locked out of my gym locker AFTER my Pilates class because the combination lock reset itself.
- Late buses, mostly; it’s hard for me to get to the gym in time for my classes.
- In Rx range: a bad parking situation at the Y resulted in me breaking the driver’s side mirror on my car.
You see that above note about the combination lock? I have no idea how that happened – I had to run and get a few things from my locker before Pilates, I came back after to find that I could not persuade it to unlock. Cue scene with YWCA employee and the bolt cutters. Fortunately, this did not result in me having to awkwardly lug all my stuff onto the bus, because I still had my original key-based padlock inside the locker for some vague “just in case.”
In this case, an awkward situation was not made worse because I had established a redundancy. While I still need to shop for a new combination lock – leaving my keys out during water aerobics makes me nervous, especially as I have a USB drive on my keychain – at least for the time being I know my very nice new athletic shoes and mini bottle of Dr. Bronner’s nestle safely within.
Not everyone has a gym locker at the Y, and we live in a world that prefers to eliminate redundancy. So why establish some?
That depends on your situation. While many situations are just fine with just you, just one, just whatever, when emergencies happen, another person to contact or another pool of resources do come in handy.
Small situations where redundancy has been handy for me? My gym locker locks, obviously, but also – my camera. I’m an avid photography hobbyist (although technically I’m meant to use it for my Etsy shop.) Because I’m out with the clicky-clicky so much, I’ve resorted to carrying two batteries with me. This way, when I wear out one rechargable battery, I have another one ready to go. I don’t need ten extra, by any means – a battery lasts about 3 hours on my camera, and having two I alternate extends the life for both batteries.
Another useful redundancy? Keys. If you can copy keys and stash them in a safe deposit box, it can probably save you the occasional nightmarish problem. Note I do not advocate you hide them under your doormat, in a magnet behind your car wheel or above your doorway. Professional thieves know where to find those. However, you can rent a safe deposit box off your property – there are a few places that offer 24 hour access to them – and this way, when crud happens, you know exactly where another set of keys are and how to get them.
Note: safe deposit boxes, at least in the US, are 100% tax deductible. It’s entirely worth the investment.
Redundancy closely follows contingency plans. For example, most people need at least one other person in the workplace that knows how to do his/her job. Despite the rash of eliminations going on based on this very thing, having someone who at least knows how to find their way around x document or x project if you are not available can be at times career saving to both of you. When Livejournal goes down during a DDOS attacks, people do hop to other blogs. If your cell phone is out of range, having another method of reaching someone, even if that’s a pre-pay phone card, can be useful.
Having a second doctor, one you go to for second opinions or when your main practitioner is on a ski trip is also important to have. Medical emergencies happen on their schedule rather than yours, so having backup in high-panic scenarios is a good plan.
If you run an organization where you handle the money, have the database, or know exactly who does what, you need to have at least one other person who knows all that stuff and how to work with it, too. Another person outside your household should be able to at least show you’re incapacitated before accessing any necessary funds, or be able to check, add and edit a database, should know your list of contacts for related business and be able to answer questions that might go to you most of the time.
Because of the who-knows what nature of life, this is also time to prepare the ultimate self-backup: your will, and your living will. Planning out that stuff now means that there’s one thing done that you need not take care of later. Periods of grief are when families need the most clear of communication; this small step on your part will make all of that a lot easier.
Also, slightly more fun, but also necessary: if you play the lottery, have a lotto winner contingency plan prepared. Write it down. If the big payday arrives, there will be a feeling of “Oh God(s), what do I do now?” that you will have to manage.