04 February 2009

Death of the Letter 'F'

On one particular Thursday night, I was in Starbucks The Columns editing an essay that my officemate JinSoon had written. I was holding up my cup of Toffee Nut Latte, cracking a joke at the expense of JinSoon, when it happened.

Because I was laughing so hard at my own brand of wit (served me right for making fun of JinSoon), my hand shook, and I didn't put down my coffee properly on the table. The cup sort of toppled over but I managed to catch it before its contents totally spilled out onto my Mac.

But still, it was too late; there was already a small, small glob of latte (thankfully not all 16 fl. oz. of the drink) that was rapidly seeping into the innards of the keyboard. I could only stare down at my laptop in shock and horror, while my friend, who had his wits about him, immediately reached out for a napkin and started inserting it below the keys to absorb the liquid. I think the wild look on my face alarmed him, and he hastened to reassure me that keyboard spills happen to people many times, that they don't damage the hard drive, and that I could have the keyboard cleaned by my Mac service provider.

When I finally un-froze myself from that petrified state, I did a general testing of my keyboard. On the surface, everything seemed to be fine, and I could type. Idiot that I was, I should have checked each key. Because I only noticed the next evening that the letter 'F' wasn't working anymore.

I was editing another of JinSoon's essays (which are part of his application to Harvard Kennedy School of Government) that Friday, and I was furious to discover that the 'F' key was totally dead. It shouldn't have surprised me; that letter was the epicenter of the coffee spill.

I was in an ugly mood, of course, and I kept saying fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck it. And JinSoon chose to crack a joke at MY expense at that moment by saying, "You mean 'uck', right? Instead of 'fuck.' Your letter 'F' is dead."

If I hadn't been rendered speechless by his untimely smart-alecky comment, I would have thrown a left hook to his ear. But my officemate was the type to go to mass every day, and God was probably on his side that night, so I left JinSoon unharmed.

The next morning, I went to Senco Link to have my Mac assessed and told the whole sad story to Carlos, the senior engineer who handles my unit. He immediately pried out the 'F' key, ran a couple of tests, gave me an apologetic look, and proclaimed the key officially dead. Then he proceeded to tell me that the entire keyboard had to be replaced (because there were no spare individual key parts for Mac), and that Senco Link could order the keyboard from the U.S. upon my go signal.

Me: Okay, I'll have it replaced. So, um, how much would the entire thing cost?

Carlos: Cost of the replacement keyboard is Php 3,500. Plus-- (and he throws me an embarrassed look, like it's his fault pa that the stupid key died)--Php 2,000 charge for the labor.


What could I do then, but swallow and place the order? Besides, I trusted Senco; there were times when I had the Mac assessed and upgraded with new software, and Carlos didn't even charge anything for that. So while waiting for the new keyboard to arrive, I had to contend with the annoying situation of having an 'F'-less keyboard.

As I write now this blog entry, I'm still forced to copy the said letter from old documents and paste it every time I need an 'f.' A hassle indeed. But it could have been worse. Can you imagine if the letter 'E' was the one not working instead?

By next week, I'm taking the Mac to Senco to have the keyboard replaced. After which, I can happily type all the 'f' words I can think of.


  1. what the F! they still haven't fixed your keyboard?

  2. Haha. I'm so bad. I haven't brought it to Senco because I needed my Mac for work the past couple of days. But I'm handing it over next week na. =)