Sometimes it’s the little things. Literally. This past weekend, I visited the Microsoft Store in Boston with the express purpose of acquiring a Surface Pen Loop and ending the nightmare of owning a Surface Pen but having no place to secure it.
Mission accomplished. And in the words of Mayor Quimby, this couldn’t have gone better.
Expecting my question—”I’m looking for something called a Surface Pen Loop”—to be met with a blank stare, I was instead pleasantly surprised when the store employee in fact knew exactly what I was looking for, directed me to the correct part of the store, and then asked which color I wanted.
It was the first of many such pleasant surprises.
The next one being how small and cute the loop packaging is. So small and cute, in fact that I asked if the Microsoft Store had a cute and tiny bag I could carry it around in. (This, sadly, was my lone disappointment.)
Now, looking at the above photo it’s hard to get an idea of scale. In fact, the Surface Pen Loop packaging looks bigger in that photo on my PC than it does in real life. I mean, compare it to the receipt I got from said purchase.
Still not convinced? Here it is compared to the credit card I actually used to make the purchase. Yes, this was the best $5.30 I’ve ever spent.
Even covered in stickers, the back of the Surface Pen Loop packaging is cute. And small.
By the way, while I was making the purchase, another customer asked me what I was buying. When I mentioned it was only $5, he said—and I quote—”Imagine how much this thing would cost at the Apple Store. $50 I bet.” Love it.
Safely ensconced in my wife’s purse, Surface Pen Loop sat by silently while we dined in Boston, traveled home, enjoyed a Sunday outside—I walked three miles and hit 10,000 steps for the second day in a row, by the way—and then ended the weekend with a viewing of “Games of Thrones.” But I hadn’t forgotten Surface Pen Loop, oh no. I had been thinking about it all weekend. Waiting. Biding my time.
My only worry was how to open the package without damaging it.
As it turns out, I had little to fear. The packaging is held together by some form of adhesive, but judging from the way it came apart, it is clearly not the same magical adhesive that Microsoft uses on the Surface Pen Loop itself, an adhesive so strong it can hold Surface Pen to your Type Cover with little fear of loss. I give the packaging an iFixIt Score of 8 because of its use of adhesive instead of reusable screws.
Fully extended, the Surface Pen Loop packaging magically extends by 2.5 times its original size. I don’t know how Microsoft accomplished this magic, but based on a recent viewing of “Interstellar” I suspect some form of wormhole or singularity is at play, where physics as I understand it is expanded into additional dimensions.
And what’s this? Microsoft helpfully provides instructions for the exact placement and orientation of Surface Pen Loop on your Type Cover, and it does so without using a single written word in any language. This too may be seen as magic, but I would remind readers that we’ve only hinted at the tip of the iceberg: these instructions somehow, inexplicably work for the Surface 3 Type Cover too, despite the fact that they were designed over a year ago for the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover, which is a completely different size. Mind. Blown.
Once I fully understood the implications of this fact—time travel, obviously—I delicately removed Surface Pen Loop from its resting place, fully revealing the loop for the first time.
Desperate to get this right—reading the magic install instructions on the Surface Pen Loop packaging was like seeing the Rosetta Stone for the first time and actually understanding all of it, not just the words but the meaning as well—I lined up Surface Pen Loop to the Surface 3 Type Cover, preparing for the crucial install.
The key here, of course, is the adhesive. It’s protected under a thin plastic cover that, when removed, could stick Surface Pen Loop to virtually any surface. The key is to stick it to Type Cover and not, say, the table. I can do this, I thought. And I removed the plastic cover.
Here, I admit my courage failed me briefly.
But what devote practitioner of any religion has not experienced such doubt? Tossing aside the insane desire to get a tape measure and perfectly position the loop in the exact middle of the Type Cover’s side, I instead put my trust in Microsoft—never betrayed, ever—and simply did as the instructions indicated. I stuck Surface Pen Loop onto the back of Type Cover.
It worked. Of course it did. And it looks great from any angle.
There was of course one final step. It’s not enough to have a Surface Pen Loop. And it’s not enough to correctly apply that loop to your Type Cover. For Surface Pen Loop to fully realize its true potential, you must actually use Surface Pen Loop. You must insert Surface Pen … into the loop.
Here, again, I must admit to some doubt. The fit was snug. What if the adhesive, not as magical as I was led to believe, separated from the back of Type Cover while I was inserting the Pen? Perhaps I should have waited, given the adhesive time to do its thing. Perhaps I … no. It just worked.
If there is a lesson to be learned here—and I think there is—it’s that there is nothing that is too small and too inexpensive not to obsess over. And now I will lovingly gaze over at Surface Pen Loop from time to time, and fondly remember a job well done.