There’s something about the ‘Valuation Evening’ at Allendale Village Hall tonight that’s frightening. Not in the sense of ‘family treasures’ . . . nah, that’s just a hoot — nothing we own could be said to have any more intrinsic value than you could shake a stick at (apologies for slipping in an idiom borrowed from across the Atlantic). Almost everything we’ve ever had has been acquired in a ‘pre-loved’ state anyway, and all the better for having fun getting a professional valuation of what’s been stored in the loft for years.
No, the frightening thing about valuing old things is this: how much value might I myself have, anymore, as I get older and more decrepit by the day? As one’s mind begins to fail, along with one’s body, can there be much more value left in this old thing? Or perhaps, in more optimistic mode, might the leaden certainty of youth have gradually transmogrified, in some exalted alchemical manner, into a golden treasure of aged and cautious wisdom?
I was pondering on these matters as I tried to figure out how to publish today’s diary entry, since our fixed line internet has gone down (it could be a year or so until B4AV gets up our track in Sparty Lea, I imagine, and meanwhile we have to depend on BT, which has failed us, probably at the roadside cabinet level, yet again). So I have to configure my mind to make some device that can access the 4G network, to accept a text and image file for publishing in the diary, and as old as I am, it’s taking some mental effort! Life is great when things work as we’ve become accustomed to, isn’t it, but when they break down, is there a work-around, or must we just run around waving our hands and wailing, ‘Help!?’
It used to be said that the monetary value of a human body was something like £1.15 or maybe that was a guinea in old money. But that was just the basic chemicals, I think, not the complicated proteins that our sophisticated cells actually produce, which when totted up now, could go into the stratosphere in terms of intrinsic value. Meanwhile, insurance companies, of course, put some sort of monetary value on an individual human life, but even so, they could never put a value on a family member, on you or on me.
But when we ourselves break down: what’s our value then? More, I hope, than the BT HomeHub6 which I’d just as soon throw into the bin, right now, worthless as it is, with its calm blue light pretending that everything is hunky-dory (now that’s a British idiom, thank you David Bowie, fourth studio album!). We think, don’t we, that our humanity is measured (no, better to say ‘revealed’) by the care we offer to sentient beings less fortunate than ourselves, even perhaps when they’re less than sentient anymore. In that sense, then, I suppose we’re worthwhile even when we feel worthless, because we’re loved by others. At least, I’m hoping that’s the case, but maybe I can help out too by being a bit less grumpy as I break down!
On the other hand, considering my current least favourite machine, I’ll be loving it when I can consign it to the great ‘internet router’ recycling bin, in favour of a new one that works consistently well up and down a Gigabit optical fibre network the way I want it to!