Just This

One Expensive Spill

When this year’s Oscar nominees were announced, I was understandably disappointed that MERU did not make the cut among the Documentary nominees. A long road and a lot of work went into lobbying for that nomination, and when it didn’t happen the whole team grieved in their own ways.

But the ceremony quickly arrived and with it I shifted back into fan mode, planning my Sunday afternoon and evening around watching the red carpet arrivals and the big show. I ordered in (a Mexican feast, don’t mind if I do) and I splurged on a six-pack of Stellas to keep me company as I enjoyed the whole fete solo (which, when you’re as big a movie geek as me is actually more enjoyable than some big to-do with a bunch of people not really paying attention).

All was going well until somewhere around the editing award, when I stood up to reach for something (I don’t even remember what now) and in the process knocked a half-full beer right on to my open laptop, smack dab in the middle of the keyboard.

Img Credit: Johnny Vagabond
Sadly, my laptop-meets-beer experience was not this leisurely…

At first, it didn’t seem terribly tragic. It wasn’t a lot of beer, and it sort of pooled on top of the keyboard for long enough to let me soak up a bunch of it. I immediately turned it off and flipped it upside down, soaking up more as it came dribbling out from the insides. I knew then it was probably bad, but it wasn’t until 3 days later when it still wouldn’t turn on that I resigned myself to the fact that it was a lost cause.

With festival travel looming, where having a working laptop would be essential, I did some research and decided that my best bet was to take it in to the pros at the Genius Bar to see what could be done. Thankfully, they were as nice as it gets and broke the news gently: it would need to be sent out for repair, and it would cost the flat repair fee of [REDACTED]. (Suffice it to say it’s nice I had some of my holiday bonus left over in my savings account.)

The good news is that for that (several hundred dollar) fee, they’d repair anything that needed it once they opened it up, even if it cost more than that to do so. And they’d do it in 5 days, max.

Fast forward to today and I get the call: my precious was ready to be picked up, good as new. Which essentially, it is; they had to install new power functions, a new logic board, a new display. What can I say? Like in life, when you spill a beer on your laptop, go big or go home.

The saving grace was that somehow all those repairs didn’t interfere with the hard drive itself. I booted it back up while I was still in the store to be sure, and there it was, my wonderful digital existence just as I left it pre-beer.

Honestly, I thought I’d miss it more than I did while it was in the shop. But I managed to get by with just my phone for the most part (I did manage the same for an entire month in India, after all), and I had my old computer to jump on for a couple things in a pinch, too (which only succeeded in reminding me how old and outdated that brick of a thing is).

In the end, this whole ordeal could’ve been much worse. Apple makes the essentially unpleasant experience of accidents like this a breeze, from booking my Genius Bar appointment from the app on my phone to discussing the problem and explaining the solution to me in a respectful, professional manner. Staff throughout were incredibly courteous and helpful, even when I called this morning anxious to get an update on where the heck my baby was, five days after I dropped it off.

Of course if I could go back in time, I would never have spilled that beer at all and saved myself all this time and expense. But I gotta say, if you’re going to get your expensive electronic apparatus and a cold lager intimately acquainted,  you could do worse than having to work with the fine customer service folks at Apple to get you back up and running. Airlines, take note.


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