Coffee Break

This blog will experience a slight delay because of coffee.

On Labor Day, in an effort to be cool and suave and get out of the house, Rhumba and I took our act and our personal electronics to a coffee house.

I set up my laptop on a big table in the middle of the room and, after a few productive minutes of writing, knocked a glass of cold-brew coffee right into the keyboard.

I hefted the thing into the air and turned it upside down.  Brown liquid streamed from the cracks between the keys.  No cause for alarm; I’d backed the thing up a mere — six months ago.

“Turn it off before it shorts!” somebody called out. Good advice. I shut down the laptop without incident, half-closed the clamshell and stood the laptop up on its “legs,” so that it dripped and drained for another 20 minutes.  I made no attempt to turn it on. It went home with us, smelling strongly of coffee.

Knocking things over is a sort of unintentional hobby with me, but I actually haven’t spilled fluid into data processing equipment since the ‘80s, when I sloshed a can of Diet Coke into a computer terminal.  It did not survive.   I hoped for a better outcome this time around.

Fortunately Rhumba has a laptop, also, and the Internet is a fine source of information on anything trivial.  We were not surprised to find an extensive literature on the ramifications of pouring coffee into laptops.  The wise heads advised putting it on its legs and letting it dry out.  Preferable for a couple of days; a minimum of one, you mad fool.

I waited one.

My laptop booted alright, but the fan wouldn’t turn off.  After a couple of minutes the screen went black.  Then it tried to boot again. Then it went black.  Then it tried to boot again.

Finally, it just sat there and looked at me.  And then it spoke:




“What does that mean?!”


What it meant, the Internet told me, was that I had a RAM problem.  Either one of the RAM modules had gone bad; or, it wasn’t seated correctly in its sockets.  Or some foreign substance had gotten into the socket.

Was this substance brown, liquid, and of robust flavor?  I can only surmise.

So the laptop goes back on its legs to dry out for yet another day. We shall see if the morrow brings happy sockets to its motherboard.

And if not, I’ll hunt through our rolodex for the number of a certain bearded yeti who lives in the hills, descending only to buy supplies and fix ailing computers for cheap or free.  And to occasionally play the marimba at parties.

In the meantime I have Rhumba’s computer, but none of my files.  Who would think that something like this could happen in this day and age?


(Update, 24 hours later:  It’s back from the dead, by God! Happy sockets fer sure!)

2 thoughts on “Coffee Break

  1. lk

    Electronics aren’t as fragile as we think they are. As long as the liquid doesn’t cause a short circuit before one turns off the device, it can often be dried out and run again just fine. My mother-in-law managed to ruin her phone tho, by dropping it in her coffee cup. She had the habit of laying it across the top of her cup and of course, it was only a matter of time before she bumped it into the cup. That device did not survive. Coffee can be an eye-opener in more ways than one.

    1. admin Post author

      All this is true… but I think I’ve going to finally break down and buy a backup drive. This incident put The Fear in me.

      Thanks for reading, LK.


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