I woke early (for me), rubbing sleep dust from my eyes, while attacking a slice of warm toast smeared with Marmite. As I crunched away, I prepared a fresh cup of delicious Nespresso hazelnut coffee and added loads of steamed milk and two sugars (don’t judge me, coffee purists!) Then I ran upstairs enthusiastically, cup in hand, while wiping crumbs from my face. I plopped onto my chair, ready to join my favourite new writing inspiration, the London Writers’ Salon. As the session started and other budding writers began adding their writing goals for the morning into the chat, I reached for my steaming brew. And then it happened... the great coffee spill of 2022.
Delicious, brown stickiness went flying everywhere – all over my lap, across my notepad and most worryingly right across my brand-new laptop. Dressed in a t-shirt and tiny pyjama shorts (because Zoom and the summer heatwave!) I jumped up and threw my laptop into the air in an attempt to get the coffee off my electronics. I didn’t think about my live camera feed. And when I did, I immediately shut the whole computer down, hoping that no one caught a glimpse of my attire. I dashed into the bathroom, wiping my machinery with handfuls of toilet roll. I considered running the laptop under the tap to get the coffee out, but fortunately common sense prevailed and I left it upside down in the (empty) bath instead.
I then grabbed my mobile phone and Googled: ‘spilled liquid on laptop’. The results were pretty grim. I accepted in that moment, that I might be saying a sad farewell to my newest cheerleader. We’d been writing a novel together, me and my laptop, and had managed to get about 28,000 words down so far. It had been a long time since I’d felt my mind churning enough to ignite creative sparks. It was wonderful to feel like myself again. And I was loving bringing the complex, noisy characters in my head, into reality through my keyboard. Now, it felt like my book was headed for yet another stall.
The more I read on Google, the worse it got. Water and electricity don’t mix well. Well. Yes. There was the tiniest glimmer of hope, the internet told me, if it was plain water or black coffee. Sugary, milk-filled beverages were the worst – apparently computer systems have a lot in common with metabolisms. I’d done the right thing though. Removing the liquid quickly and leaving it upside down to dry was the common advice. The timeframe varied though, between 2 and 48 hours (all stated the longer the better). As I mopped sticky mess off my desk, my calendar alerted me to my next challenge: ‘Job interview at 11:00’ it shouted, underlined with yellow highlighter. Great! If I couldn’t get my laptop running, I’d be interviewing on my phone – not very professional.
After 2½ hours, I fired up my laptop. The screen lit up. Everything worked normally – except for my left arrow and backslash keys, which didn't work at all. I was fully equipped for my interview and appeared on Zoom presenting a facade of a confidence and calmness. My stomach turned every now and then, at the thought of my technology melting down. When I took my laptop in to the specialists a few hours later they told me that there was a section of my motherboard that hadn’t been functional at the time of use and if it had been, then the whole thing would have been irreparably damaged. Phew!
As a creative, I’ve often found when I focus energy on my personal projects, the hurdles come thick and fast – sometimes as outright barriers and sometimes as obstacles disguised as opportunities. My coffee disaster reminded me to persevere through the things that matter to me, to mop up the sticky stuff, continue trying when it gets tough, and to never give up no matter the challenge.
In case you were wondering... I still drink coffee when I write. However, I now use a desk keyboard and screen and keep the hot stuff far away from my laptop.