![esc key](/assets/img/2017/01/esc-key.png)

Keyboard symbol for "Escape"

Time and time again, instinct moves my hand to the top left corner of the keyboard. There is only one key there that I trust. It can do so many things in so many scenarios, the Swiss army knife of a keyboard; don’t like this prompt? Hit it! Finished editing? Hit it again! Cutscene too long? Hit it ‘til they stop! The world of human-computer interaction would be remiss without this punchy panacea, this brainchild of Mr. Bemer almost 57 years ago. Sorry finance people, we are not talking about the F2 key that only becomes useful after popping out and sacrificing the F1 key (may they rest in peace).

But lo! My brain is confused. No familiar “click” of a press, no “clack” of a bounce. No tactile feedback so expected and so satisfying. Only the dull thud of flesh on display. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a brief flicker of a milky display button, the residuum cum successor of that noblest of keys. That digital flicker is the only indication we have left of fulfilled intent. My finger moves to tap, tap, tap again, searching in vain for that familiar bounce. Nothing.

It will take time.. but not much. On rainy days I think about the fileted top row, the noble keys; the misunderstood F family and its various fn uses. Mobile brick phones must have felt this way when the touch screen took over. The numpad’s real estate was too valuable, and the numbers became less and less useful as mobile phones ate into more of our lives. Touch Bar real estate is destined for the same. Uses are limited only by imagination. The 1234567890 row should be safe as numbers and symbols are such an integral part of the writing experience. The largest trackpad ever is squeezing up from the bottom but I see no threat to fn control option command and God knows we need the spacebar so wedon’tenduplikethis. The core 5 rows are intact and we can expect it to remain so even if someone rethinks qwerty.

I miss my esc key. But I anticipate Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro Touch Bar’s reclaimed territory will soon be a boon for us all.