Message for Kings: Darling, the Sony dealership is conveniently located in Sogo, Causeway Bay and they have confirmed the entire laptop casing is replaceable, but you will need to leave the laptop in their shop for 4-7 days. Henry helped me call them
DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS PARAGRAPH lest this post gives you fresh heartache.
Rushing to pack up and drive out from my parents’ little holiday apartment by the beach last Sunday, I didn’t zip Kings’ laptop bag. It’s a gesture I give little thought to – slightly warm laptop, and I usually only shut bags only when I pick them up to leave.
Kings is different. He zips and unzips the bag every time. And, expecting the bag to be secure, he swings it into the car.
His ~ HKD 25,000 souped-up super laptop flies out and crashes to the rough gravel of the parking lot. From 30 feet away, standing with Rockstar who is conversationally gabbling at the coy in the pond, for a minute I wonder if I’m feeling my husband’s heartsick. No. No, it’s a different sensation – what I’m feeling is what it’s like seeing my husband in such momentary distress.
I’m so sorry darling. Can you forgive me?
It’s just a laptop?
You might not fully understand. Souped-up super laptop is the one material thing Kings has splurged for pure pleasure on for himself. My husband doesn’t spend money on himself for “luxuries.”
(Unlike me. Bad day in the office, I buy myself something. Shitty colleagues, I buy myself something. It’s my way of saying You Get Paid To Put Up With Crap, Aileen. And yes, after quitting my job I am down to virtually zero impulse purchases.
Excuse me, have you met my husband?
This he, who worked himself to the bone in a highly stressful job putting 2 younger siblings through college, ending up looking much older than me even though we’re the same age, during which time he is very rarely extravagant with himself.
1. Among some in the market, it was a source of mild amusement that Kings used to have someone on his team reporting to him who wore a wristwatch costing at least 10 times what Kings’ own severely simple Omega is worth.
1a. And he didn’t even buy that watch – it was a wedding gift from my dad. Kings chose it because it is especially slim, and therefore doesn’t irritate him by impeding the movement of his shirt cuffs. (I have long given up buying him expensive ties – the fabric and width have to be just right, otherwise it “spoils (his) day as (he) knots it,” label be damned.)
2. My husband will never lose the Gucci cufflinks from my mum because they sit perpetually in our safe deposit box. He wears Raoul cufflinks that he chucks in a bowl of loose change at the end of each day.
Most mornings, he puts on the first matching pair he finds, scrabbling about in that bowl of change, his other hand rapidly scrolling one of his two blackberries.
3. On casual Fridays he used to wear the same Batik long-sleeved shirt most weeks, earning him the nickname “Datuk” among Hongkie colleagues. In Cantonese, of course.
My faithful, beyond hardworking husband, whom I recently talked into treating himself to the laptop of his dreams. He has lovingly polished it every night since he brought it home not a month ago.
It is beyond sleek. It is the James Bond of laptops.
Not craggy macho blonde Daniel Craig Bond. Suave, dark, slim and streamlined Pierce Brosnan Bond. This laptop so fly, when Kings asks to test out the real thing at the Wan Chai Computer Center, the normally hungry and aggressive salesmen in 2 different stores sniff, “Are you even going to consider buying it if I take it down?”
I wouldn’t feel nearly this bad if I totaled his car (which is an 8yr old second hand BMW that has been in at least 3 accidents and cost the same as our 2nd hand Nissan Sunny did – a large part of why we even bought a beemer was cabbies strongly advising us to get something with a little engine because of the very hilly terrain, we are not car people.)
But. His…. LAPTOP. I look at the gravel. Mr Brosnan has been violated.
It’s surreal. Rockstar glances up, then turns, unconcerned, back to the fish in the pond. Daddy dropped a toy. Like I do all the time. More mild, casual gabbling. Frantically, I’m almost screaming, one eye still on Rockstar by the pond.
“Let me buy another one! It’s just money! No one got hurt! Please!! Just let me buy another one!!”
We’re in the car. We’re late getting to my parents’ for my mum’s birthday.
“Daddy, don’t drive so fast.”
“Rockstar, Daddy’s very sad. You have to be nice to Daddy. He needs you to cheer him up.”
<Gravely nodding> “Ok. Daddy, don’t be sad. Daddy, don’t drive so fast.”
“A, B, C, D, E, F, Geeee…”
“H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, Peeeeeee……..”
<Dead, stony silence>
I barely dare sneak a glance at Kings thru the rearview mirror. His jaw looks like it’s been carved from concrete.
“LLLon-don bridge is faw-ling down, faw-ling down, faw-ling do-own…..”
Somehow, we make it to my parents’ place and try for the 3rd time to restart the laptop. It works, but one sharp corner looks like it has been methodically filed away and there are a few small but very deep gouges in the sleek shell.
I have permanently disfigured my husband’s James Bond laptop. And it’s my mum’s birthday. I don’t deserve to live.
I know what you’re thinking. To borrow from one of the Taiwanese bankers I used to deal for:
“Ai- Lynn ah, I tell you-ah. Ass-ident, no-buh-dy hurt is best of unlucky-ah.”
5.30am the next day, waiting for our flight in the airport. Gingerly I broach the subject of trading in the maimed (but otherwise fully functional) laptop for a new one, having his guy at the Wan Chai Computer Center meticulously migrate all the data – if Kings won’t let me foot the bill as penance, then as a slightly early birthday present.
Kings looks away and asks me not to remind him.
Even if I don’t, I know he remembers. My mother noticed him repeatedly fingering the maimed, filed-off corner.
“You know, Aileen, I also can’t stand reading books that have dog-eared pages or creased covers, you know.”
YES. I KNOW.
My beloved husband is sad. The same wonderful husband who organized this whole trip back because I have barely spoken to my father since a fight shortly after Rockstar was born.
Maybe you still think it’s just a laptop. But for me, it’s seeing my reliable hardworking husband so sad.
I love you, darling. I don’t want to see you sad.
And I know you didn’t take my advice not to read this whole blog post.
Blessed are we, that we can focus on little pebbles in the gravel, for the lack of large rocks in our life. Thank You Lord…