Apparently I’m a little hard on the keyboard.
I think I type with a normal amount of pressure, but then again, I thought I was writing completely normally back in school when one of my teachers commented that if I was pressing hard enough to leave indentations on several pages underneath the one I was actually writing on, I could stand to go a little bit more gently.
We could probably come up with a whole personality profile based upon my apparent need to jam the keys down as I type—perhaps it means I’m unrelenting, or maybe it’s just a sign of constipation—but I think the uninteresting truth is that my fine-motor control is a little off. I often have some difficulty coordinating my fingers; applying greater pressure seems to improve my aim.
And that’s all well and good until I destroy my computer.
Okay; perhaps “destroy” is too harsh of a word. I first noticed my penchant for rough typing when my folks would come to visit and my father would sit down to use my computer and become completely befuddled. Apparently if you type hard enough, for long enough? You wear all of the letters off of the keys.
I’m a touch-typist. My father is not. Many, many jokes ensued about the similarities between Chinese Water Torture and placing my poor father at a computer with a blank keyboard.
Periodically my keyboard would just up and die, and then I’d replace it. It would work fine, even as I wore the letters off the keys again. And then when it died, I’d replace it again. Etc. (Notice that typing more softly was never an issue that came into play. I don’t know how to train myself to tap with less force.)
Anyway, that was back in my PC days. When I made the switch to a Mac a couple of years ago, I figured my days of crappy, worn-down keyboards were finally over. Because Macs are made of SuperFantasticPlastic and Steve Jobs’ invincible DNA and also unicorn sneezes. Or, you know, something like that. My MacBook is INDESTRUCTIBLE!
Naturally, I wore the letters off of the keys. That’s particularly impressive, actually, seeing as how about 75% of the time, I don’t even use its keyboard; I use an external one on my desk setup (which—of course!—has most of the letters worn off the keys). And then when I was sick last month I spent a couple of weeks working from my bed or the couch and I discovered that sometimes when I hit the keys… nothing happened.
At first I thought it was my imagination. But then it started happening more and more, and because I’m a mature, rational adult I FLIPPED OUT.
Otto was kind enough to bring me a paper bag to breathe into, and also to point out that 1) my computer is not broken and 2) I have AppleCare so we could just take my computer to the Apple Store and have them fix it up. I mean, I really thought my plan of just sitting on the couch whining about it and eating cookies was a good one, but I had to admit that he had a point.
So on Saturday, we headed to The Big Mall for my appointment at the Apple Store.
Let me tell you about the Apple Store on the weekend. IT IS MADNESS. It’s exactly the sort of wall-to-wall people situation that I hate, and all of them are chanting “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated,” while Twittering on their iPhones. (Technically I may have made up the chanting part. But not the iPhone part.)
We stopped to pet the shiny new MacBooks, and for a fleeting moment I wondered if perhaps there could be something SO WRONG with my beloved machine that I would be FORCED to drop $1300 on a new machine. But then I remembered the whole part where I’d have to come up with $1300 and whispered sweet nothings into my laptop bag and continued waiting for our turn at the Genius Bar.
My name was called and I sat down with Tommy, a “Genius” who looked like he was splitting his time between the Genius Bar and catching some seriously gnarly waves, dude. I had to resist a sudden urge to tell him to GET OFF MY LAWN, but instead I plopped my computer down and explained that the keyboard seemed to be wearing out. He asked some questions and took a look at it, and then popped up a text window and asked me to do some typing to show him the problem.
I began to type. And all of the keys worked just fine. OF COURSE.
“I swear it’s been all wonky!” I told him, maybe a little louder than was strictly necessary. “It’s just afraid of all these other shiny computers!” Tommy chuckled rather than looking at me like I had three heads, which is totally what I would’ve done to someone anthropomorphizing their computer, but hey, it IS the Apple Store. I probably wasn’t even CLOSE to being the weirdest person he saw that day. (Fact: I saw a little girl who couldn’t have been more than eight or nine, who had professional red and blond highlights in her hair that matched her mother’s. She was also carrying a nicer purse than mine. We are Mac people, but we are not THAT kind of Mac people. Thank God.)
After some poking and prodding, Tommy told me that because I’m a loyal Apple customer (I totally pulled out my iPhone and Twittered something when he said that, just to prove his point), they’d be happy to just go ahead and replace the keyboard. I thanked him profusely, and my MacBook was whisked away for ten minutes, and then returned to me as good as new.
The keys are all SPRINGY now! And they all have LETTERS and SYMBOLS on them! So today I’m going to try to type more softly. I’m just going to think gentle thoughts. Ommmmmmmm. Ommmmmmm. (Maybe I should’ve asked Tommy to teach me to meditate—I’m sure he would’ve.)