Thing no.39

2006

Against my will and better judgement I have borrowed a friend’s laptop. It has been a long day of solving, fixing, worrying, teas going cold and a mobile lunch from corner-shop fridge. Finished for the night I turn the corner onto the bleak hackney road and the last 55 bus comes into sight. I run for the stop but behind me I hear an inexplicable crash. Having climbed out of my backpack with the steps of my sprint, the IBM Thinkpad now lies on the sodium lit pavement. As it glides by, the fluorescent tubes from the passing bus floodlight the scene as I tenderly pick up the half open notebook. A small scratch, a tiny crack in the plastic, a slightly dented corner with a grain of embedded grit – but at a glance the laptop would seem fine. Minutes later I hail a taxi and like a businessman from the city I open the Thinkpad and its blue glow lights up the curves in the back of the cab. I justify the pounds clicking by on the meter against my luck with the unharmed computer.

Early the next day, I check the laptop again and like a friend’s mouth with a missing tooth I clock the gap in the keyboard – the control key is missing. Through the hole you can see the green of the mother-board with its twisting silver veins. With limbs like sandbags I return for another days fixing and reluctantly pass the scene of the fall. Sitting on the concrete paving slab is a small black plastic cube with ‘CTRL’ picked out in white.

With a click the button slots back into its row