I watch a lot of daytime TV and I don’t know what that says about me, but it’s something about the comforting nature of eating toast with marmite, flicking on This Morning and watching people smile while telling me the world is burning and then going straight into a segment about gourmet dog treats is extremely comforting to me.
I love it all. Antiques Roadshow, Escape to the Country, Homes under the Hammer, Dickinson’s Real Deal, Animal Park (if I get up early enough. Animal Park is the McDonalds breakfast of daytime TV) and also, in particular, Flog It.
If you’re not familiar with Flog It (you should be) it’s basically where weirdos and old people bring some junk to an antiques fair and get it valued by a professional, who tells them how much it’s worth.
I have recently noticed that this is a lot like going to therapy.
Every Thursday at 4pm I click onto the zoom chat (it’s lockdown as i’m writing this and I have therapy over zoom). My therapist appears on the screen, smiling, poorly framed, in a stripey top, with several plants behind her. Sometimes she has building works which means that my stories occasionally are punctuated by relentless drilling, and sometimes she’s sat outside which means it’s underscored by pigeons.
Each session I sit down, and begin to empty out the big sack of junk that is my brain. And she then takes each piece, looks at it, and then tells me how much it’s worth.
Sometimes I arrive ready to talk about a really good bit – like when an old person comes on with some jewellery with a big fat diamond in it that their great grandmother prized off a drowning woman on the Titanic. That stuff is never worth as much as you think it’s going to be.
Sometimes it’s one of those really good episodes where I arrive with something I think is worthless and shit, like a postcard where the writing is illegible and I’ve spilled a bit of jam on it, only to find out it’s actually worth thousands of pounds (in therapy). Wow, so unexpected. If I’d have known, I wouldn’t have taken better care of it. I think she likes those ones the best, cos I think it’s funding half the building work I mentioned earlier.
Sometimes she’ll pick out something from the bag herself, from a secret pocket which I didn’t even realise was in there. Um, hello? At least buy me dinner first.
Those are quite intrusive days. After all, I’m a woman, not a lucky dip. She’ll make a big deal about whenever she’s retrieved – asking all sorts of questions.
I start feeling private. I’d rather have her look at all the big, obvious stuff in the bag. Stop digging around at the bottom. There’s lots of stuff with sentimental value in there I’m not ready to give up yet. God, why are you so obsessed with me? All you’re doing is picking at the stupid fucking lint at the bottom of the bag. Are you like some lint pervert? What, you got a fetish for dust, or something mate?
Well bad luck, cos that’s my lint, and I’m keeping it.
Anyway, so this week she’s put her prices up now that lockdown’s eased and I can’t afford her anymore, which is bullshit. I really thought I was making her feel like she was doing good work on the bits I already know about myself.
So off I go, back out into the world with my sack of useless junk for a brain, on my own again, off to try my chances at the auction. At least I have a free hour back. I wonder what I’m going to watch?