Key Crust

As a writer, I’m forced to work from home during the pandemic. It’s not my preferred place. For some reason, the rambunctious noisiness of coffee shops draw out my muse. I think it’s because I’m there for the purpose of writing.

Unlike home. At home, it’s me, my wife, the cats, the phone, and the world outside my house. As with any job, distractions arise at home that interrupt the work flow. For instance, this morning forced me to address a major distraction: what is that stuff between and around the keys on my keyboard, and how do I get rid of it?

I don’t know why. Maybe I’m embarrassed by the key jam (you know, like toe jam?). I don’t know why; nobody sees my laptop and its key jam (key crust?), so why should I be concerned?

But logic doesn’t always drive my thinking. Neither does emotion nor physical input. There seems to be other realms forcing behavior.

I’ve had this HP Envy for six years. I’ve noticed the key crust before. I’ve tried cleaning it off before. Today, as I finished a second page, sipped coffee and addressed what happens next, I stared down at the crust. Resolution filled me: the crust must be removed.

First, though, the HP Envy name amuses me. Nobody has ever expressed envy at my laptop. The name seems like wishful marketing.

I’ve attacked the crust before. Compressed air has been used on previous machines. (My god, I’ve been using and cleaning computer keyboards since 1981, part of me thinks with a little horror.) I also have a little whisk tool. I’ve used these on the Envy, but the crust is impervious. I next employed toothpicks, q-tips, and various other slender pieces of things. None worked.

But now…ho, ho. I purchased an eyeglass repair kit this week. It has a thousand screws. The screws were what I wanted. I already have two sets of eyeglass screwdrivers. Between my wife and I, we have five pairs of glasses that we use that have suffered detached lenses or stems. In each case, a screw had popped out. As the glasses were otherwise fine, we certainly weren’t going to dispose of them. No we needed to repair them.

We’ve both been wearing prescription glasses since our early teens, dutifully going to doctors, get new prescriptions, and then buying new glasses as regularly as full moons. (At least, it seems like that.) We have a basket full of glasses. We often give old prescription glasses to charity so others can use them, but we have sentimental favorites that we can’t abide to surrender. Naturally, these are the afflicted glasses.

Although I’ve had the tiny screwdrivers for two or three lifetimes, they’ve never been at hand when I stared down at the key crust. Since I’d repaired a pair of glasses last night, the screwdriver set was right there beside me.

And the crust was right before me, almost…mocking me.

This had to end.

Selecting the smallest screwdriver, I carefully worked it around and under the keys, appalled and fascinated by the stuff I was recovering. This, I figured, was an amalgam of cat fur, human hair, and dandruff from us both, along with what the hell else, you know?

I had to employ an exact, tender angle. Each key was individually addressed. Rushing was out of the question. After a relatively short time (yeah, I have no idea how long), the key crust was gone, and the keyboard presentable once again. It really looks so much better.

Then, because I’d been at it so long, my coffee was cold, and but a swallow remained, so fresh coffee was required. Also, since I’d been sitting an hour, some quick exercise. Also, since it was lunchtime and breakfast had been four hours ago, lunch. Also, since my wife made some energy balls yesterday, a couple of them wouldn’t be remiss. Also, I hadn’t checked Facebook or emails (there could be something important there, right?). Also, it looks miserable outside (whose truck is on the street? Why are they parked across from my house?), so what’s the temperature? It rained all night – how much rain did we get? (Less than an inch.) How many more days will it rain? Oh, there’s a winter advisory out for snow over four thousand feet. That’ll end tomorry. Well, we’re not going anywhere, anyway – COVID-10, you know.

Finally, though, it was all addressed and out of the way. Now I’ve got fresh coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Now where the hell was I?

5 thoughts on “Key Crust

Add yours

  1. Michael, I have two possibly helpful suggestions: 1) for keyboard sludge, I just saw this the other day

    Lots of other products like this, none of which I can vouch for

    B) on YT you can find looong recordings of coffee shop ambient sound. This may not help unless you can mentally tranport yourself into a place where you HAVE to work. You’re up to that level of self-delusion, aren’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried different brushes and were dissatisfied with the results. All my proven methods failed. It’s like the keys were cursed. Bob’s suggestion looks interesting. I’ve added it to my wish list and will probably buy it the next time I place an order. Part of it is, I want to play with that goo.

      Like

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