Fall is in the air, and you know what that means: There’s a pumpkin spice latte spilled on the floor of my car, and back sweat is no longer a daily occurrence. As the weather grows chillier, memories of autumns past flow like the smell of sour milk in my floor mats.
After a quick 30-minute scroll through my personal Twitter feed, I realized that almost exactly one year ago, I experienced what could have been the worst day of my life. Let’s start from the beginning.
It was a chilly September evening, a Sunday much like today, even though today is Wednesday. I gathered my belongings and headed across campus to Lee Hills Hall for my work-study job, where my main role was to simply exist and make sure no one was eating at the computers. I brought all of the necessities: the homework I intended on finishing, a novel I had not yet started to read, a light snack and my beloved MacBook Pro.
However, it was on this long journey across campus that I thought to myself, “Self, you deserve a treat.” I popped into the Starbucks on Ninth Street to procure a venti double Americano with three pumps of vanilla. Surely, this evening was one of no irregularity.
I arrived swiftly at Lee Hills, swiped into the building and ventured to the basement where I was to reside on post as the photo lab attendant. I set up camp at the front table with my coffee, books and computer and prepared to hunker down and finish the three-page paper breathing down my neck.
Now, it is important to mention here that my role as lab attendant was to prohibit lab users from having food, drinks or anything else messy around the computers. Personal computers, on the other hand, were free game. As long as there were no university-owned electronics at stake, the rules were irrelevant.
It can’t happen to me, I said. Those rules are just there as a precaution. It was the moment when I decided that my homework could wait and I needed to watch the previous evening’s episode of “Saturday Night Live” that things went took a turn for the worse.
I reached into my backpack and procured a pair of standard white Apple headphones. Then, with my left hand, I took the male end of the plug and went to insert it into the female headphone jack on the lower side of my precious Mac. This is where things went awry.
Instead of moving my large steaming cup of sweet Colombian joy to a safe distance from the computer, I reached around it and bumped it just enough with my forearm to tip the cup directly into my keyboard. Not onto the keyboard. Into the keyboard. Where microchips and a hard drive and other liquid-sensitive components are kept.
In slow motion, it seemed, my soul lifted from my body, and I watched each scalding drop of hot coffee venture into the labyrinth underneath Q, W, E, tab and ~. I knew that if I didn’t act quickly, things would only become worse. With the speed and agility of an Italian greyhound, I sprinted to the bathroom across the hall and dumped the contents into the sink.
Now, I know what you’re thinking here: Abbey, you idiot. How could someone as smart and charismatic and so not socially awkward make such a mistake? Well, my dear friends, bad things can happen to good people. We are all susceptible to these terrible mishaps.
Thankfully, after many minutes of frantic Google searching, lots of anxious tweeting and about a roll and a half of paper towels, my dear MacBook is alive and well for me to tell this story today.
Unfortunately, many do not have as lucky of an outcome as I did that day. I can only hope that my mistake will implore you to be more careful when it comes to potentially-damaging liquids and to take proper precautions, such as silicone keyboard covers or tightly sealing travel cups.