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I had my laptop fixed in Gilmore yesterday. The battery had to be replaced and so did the keyboard. I’m not particularly good with gadgets. I can operate them, yes, but take good care of them? Plus, I’m not really good with technology in general. I don’t understand specs at all. I don’t know what they’re supposed to do and why they’re good. I’m not really in-the-know when it comes to devices. All I really care for is a gadget which works fast and works efficiently. This simplistic attitude is perhaps the reason why it took me a while to switch to a touch phone. I hate touch screen devices. Having sweaty hands, these keyboard-less devices are a torture to handle.

But I wish I had the common sense not to have my coffee near my laptop.

Apparently, Gilmore’s the place-to-be for anything computer related. It’s quite an amusing locale with its own culture. I think there are around three buildings or plazas solely dedicated to computers in the area. Four or five levels are occupied by countless shops and stalls. In fact, the moment you get off the LRT station or car you’re swarmed by men carrying leaflets of products and services their shops offer. The uninitiated would probably think they’re scammers. It’s a bit intimidating especially for tech noobs.

“Sir, motherboard? Laptop? Do you need an external hard drive? Are you looking for a fan?”

No, I just need my laptop fixed.

I’m lucky to have friends who are quite adept in the language of computers. You see I cannot even properly describe how you call Gilmore. Computer haven? Tech heaven? All I know is that the place offers most everything at a price cheaper than service centers or shops inside malls. And better than going to seedier places.

I had my mind on a shop already. I read online reviews about the quality of service they offer and was intent on just ignoring the “promo guys”. But one of them insisted, and when he asked me how much the shop I was going to offered their repair service, he took it as an opportunity to hard-sell their cheaper, quick fix. He thought I was new at the place so I exaggerated the other shop’s offer which led him to giving me a service fee to my liking. Talk about subtle haggling.

The shop he works for looks like most others. Behind the glass-framed work areas where people watched their computers, phones, and motherboard being repaired were shelves upon shelves of discarded gadgets. It really looked more like a hospital for computers to me, with the discarded gadgets more like cadavers.

All around were customers patiently but nervously waiting for their damaged, paralyzed, or even near-dead HP’s, Lenovo’s, Acer’s, iPad’s and even LG widescreen TV. Most oversaw the repair of their gadgets, like some expectant father inside the delivery room, looking on as the technicians unscrewed, dismantled, and disassembled their devices with surgical precision.

I anxiously stared as the technician stripped my laptop of its frame, revealing strange-looking metal and wire components I have no idea what to call. Motherboard? Circuit board? The promo guy who assisted me tried to be as reassuring as he could, perhaps as my non-noob disguise peeled and trickled with beads of sweat I tried to wipe away with clammy hands.

“This place is really like a hospital. It makes me feel like I’m in one.”

I was asked to look at the replacement keyboard first before the technician installed it. Do they do the same with organ transplants? Have the parent, husband, son or daughter look at the new liver or heart first before they put it in the patient’s body? I have no idea.

Soon after, I observed the technician try on the new keyboard on the old frame, stick everything together with a glue gun, before screwing the frame back to my laptop. The repair/surgery took about an hour. It could have finished earlier had my technician not been distracted by other “computer surgeons” (or quack doctors?) constantly pulling him out to help them test the other “patients”. It was like a packed emergency room and every computer, tablet, phone or laptop needed immediate attention. My “doctor” then asked me to test the new part, and so I did, checking every key, and typing random blurbs on Word to see if it’s good enough for me to write again.

I paid a hefty sum, though not as much as my laptop’s service center quoted. Plus, it took only an hour of my day compared to the service center’s diagnosis repairing my computer would take two weeks. I can’t afford to be laptop-less for that long. Nor am I willing to entrust my device—confidential files and all—to someone else, no matter how “authorized” of a dealer or service center they are. Victims of leaked sex videos would know (not that I have any).

Was the repair good? Well, I’m writing this from my brand new keyboard so I would say, yes. I also got a warranty, which is of course, always important. I just wish I had tipped the promo guy and the technician, maybe for good will. You never know, with my clumsiness and all, I might need them in the near future.