Coffee Meets Keyboard

Ever since Man discovered fire, Man discovered coffee. And for as long as Man lived, rituals existed. Subsequently, Man discovered the ritualistic art of hot coffee over a smouldering fire. And like his ancestors of centuries past, the modern Man of today engages in the same rituals. For many, including myself, there is a morning ritual that we partake in: The daily cup of coffee.

For the record, nothing smells better than its aroma permeating every unclogged pore of one’s body. If I could inject the essence of coffee straight into my veins and subsist on caffeine alone, I would. But while it sounds great in theory, I think reality would think otherwise. So, a daily cup (or two, maybe three) shall do.

Nectar of the universe.

Now, I am a careful person and rarely fumble through life other than times when the ground meets my face. Or when automotive doors press down on my digits. Or when table legs kick my toes. Other than those moments, I like to think that I possess the spatial awareness of an infrared motion detector and am especially adept with my fingers. I’d be my own superhero already if I wasn’t a mere mortal; One can certainly imagine.

Indeed, Man’s capacity for imagination guided humanity for centuries. Imagination also birthed things such as electronics, aeroplanes, toto, and computers. These were also tools of convenience that let us slave away from home to earn our keep. On the other hand, it was also the aeroplane that allowed the coronavirus to spread worldwide. Regardless of the adverse social conditions, Man with his computer could stay home. We can’t have the good without the bad it seems. Nevertheless, pandemic or not, Man and his rituals must be carried out; No pandemic will end my daily cup.

They say that past performance does not guarantee future results. Still, ever since I started to work from my bedroom due to the pandemic, my cup sits in the same spot every day. There was no reason why my cup should be placed any differently. I would drink coffee and my day shall be good today, just as it was yesterday.


My right hand slapped the cup, toppling it and splashing brown liquid onto the right side of my T460 keyboard. Nothing exploded. There was no smoke. The laptop is chugging just fine. Lenovo weren’t kidding when they claimed that the ThinkPad laptops are life-resistant. Or, I made that up.

The gunky and gummy feel of the keys irked me enough to prompt a deep clean. Removing the keyboard from the laptop was a painless affair. The internet told me that I could wash the keyboard. So, I soaked it in soapy water and rinsed the keyboard over warm water. Here’s hoping that it works after drying overnight.

ThinkPad T460 keyboard submerged in soapy water. Smart fix or stupid decision.

Day Two

After leaving the keyboard to dry overnight, I subjected it to fifteen minutes of intolerable air from a hair dryer. I rarely make prayers, but it couldn’t hurt to direct a line or two, towards the keyboard. Putting it back to the laptop and turning it on sees the mouse cursor jumping erratically over the screen. The keys do not work.

Prayers do not work.

I suspect leftover moisture killed the keyboard. I am letting the keyboard dry further in front of a fan and have relegated myself to typing on a dusty ol’ Logitech keyboard and wireless mouse. The typing experience is horrendous. But, I’ll get used to it.

Meanwhile, I have ordered a new T460 (FRU: 01AX310) keyboard from Aliexpress. All’s good.

Day Three

I am now desperate and have turned to ordering a Mr McKenic Contact Cleaner & Lubricant spray. I sprayed it on the exposed keyboard electronics. After drying and connecting the keyboard to the laptop, only the Trackpoint works. The backlight turns on and stays lit. However, it seems the keyboard is dead. My heart aches. I hope my replacement keyboard comes soon.

What is the lesson learned here? Do not drink coffee. It gives you heart palpitations. If you have to drink, do so in moderation. Don’t drink and drive, not even with coffee.

Day Eleven

The replacement keyboard from the Aliexpress seller arrived. However, it is not the original model. The typing feel is different. The backlight is uneven. The key-feel is uneven. The spacebar does not trigger each time. I am updating this post on my wired TrackPoint keyboard. My attempt to purchase an original replacement 01AX310 model keyboard from Lenovo’s website fails. Lenovo prevents me from making an international purchase under USD$200.

I sent an email to them requesting assistance. Meanwhile, I will hunt for local sellers who hopefully stock the 01AX310 model. This laptop keyboard is really in a class of its own.