The Story Behind Repairing a Keyboard

The letter “D” key on the computer keyboard suddenly malfunctioned. A few days ago, there was just a slight delay in response, but yesterday it completely stopped working. It’s frustrating to have a perfectly fine keyboard unexpectedly break down, especially considering that the “D” key is one of the most commonly used keys.

On Friday evening, my son came home from school, as usual, wanting to play some games on the computer. Immediately, he noticed the issue. Surprised, he asked me if I had accidentally pressed something that caused the keyboard to malfunction because it was working fine before he left for school last week.

What could I have pressed? Honestly, even I am puzzled. The keyboard was working fine, and then suddenly it just stopped. Some things just happen suddenly, and I’m not sure what caused it.

“Should we just make do with it?” I shrugged helplessly, saying to my son.

“How can we make do with this? The ‘D’ key is crucial; you can’t type properly without it,” he replied, with one of the reasons being that it affected his gaming. This kid once said that after being cooped up in school all week, he needed to play games on Friday evenings to relax his tense nerves, or else he would go crazy. That’s what he said.

Alright, if it’s broken, then let’s buy a new keyboard online. I asked my son to find a similar one online and we’d just buy it. However, to my surprise, he stubbornly opposed, saying, “Why buy one? Let’s get it fixed at the computer shop. It won’t cost much, and it’s much cheaper than buying a new one.” He gave me a glare, “Can’t we save some money? All you know is buying, buying, buying!” The way he spoke didn’t sound like my son; it was more like an “old man”.

Fine. Early in the morning on my way to work, I made a call to a computer shop owner I know well, asking about repairing computer keyboards. This owner’s wife is quite close to me; we often chat and have a good time together. We’ve known each other for at least ten years.

The computer shop owner told me there was no way to fix it. These things, it’s better to buy a new one than to repair the old one. He could offer me a discounted price, and a new keyboard would cost at most 260 yuan.

At noon, when I got home, I told my son about it. After some thought, he said to me, “Mom, go to the pharmacy and buy a small bottle of alcohol. Also, get some cotton swabs. It’s best to buy a small screwdriver from the hardware store. I’ll fix it myself.”

I looked at my son’s innocent face in amazement, feeling a bit strange about the boy today. “If it can be fixed, then fix it. It’s much better if it can be repaired than buying a new one,” he said with shining eyes, looking straight ahead with his slender figure held up.

There are cotton swabs in the medicine cabinet at home, and we also have a small screwdriver. We just need to buy a bottle of alcohol outside.

I opened my phone, took a screenshot of my health code and travel code, put on my mask, and went to the pharmacy.

Before leaving, my son reminded me again, “Just buy a small bottle; don’t waste money.” He knew I was a bit careless, this child, yet he was quite thoughtful.

With a small screwdriver in his hand, my son carefully removed each key from the keyboard, one by one, and soaked them in a basin of water, ready to clean them.

At the pharmacy, I followed the procedure, got my temperature checked, registered, and after the staff checked my green health code, I successfully bought the alcohol. It wasn’t expensive, just 13.80 yuan for a bottle.

Back home, my son patiently wiped the circuit board with alcohol-dipped cotton swabs, one by one. Sitting at the desk, he leaned over, carefully wiping every little part of the circuit with the alcohol-dipped cotton swab, fully focused and patient. He was so gentle and attentive when doing this, just like his deceased father.

I took a discarded toothbrush and slowly brushed the outer shells of the letter keys soaked in the basin. After brushing all the keys, I noticed it was almost time for work, so I laid the cleaned keys out on a tray and placed them in the shade on the balcony. Then I went to work.

After work, I went to the farmers’ market to buy ingredients for dinner and came home. When I opened the door, I saw my son sitting in front of my desk, wearing headphones, his fingers flying like butterflies; there were sword fights and battles on the computer screen, playing out a scene from Star Wars!

It suddenly dawned on me that two years ago, it was this boy who ordered the spare parts directly from the manufacturer online, consulted the circuit assembly information, and spent two days and nights assembling the computer himself.

Some things just need a little dusting and cleaning with alcohol. Trust yourself rather than others. Alas, people’s hearts aren’t as good as they used to be.

Familiarity breeds contempt, indeed.