The son of a Kazakh returned from his studies in England.
Father pestered him with questions. He is very interested in another’s life.
- Tell me, son,- says his father, -how do these English live? What’s wrong with them?
- You know, Dad, they live differently. Different in everything.
For example, I lived in a family of a wonderful pair of elderly native Englishmen. The most important difference from us in their daily lives is economics or better to say diligence. They do not deny themselves the joys of life, but they also do not throw money thoughtlessly into the wind.
– For example?
-For example, they live in a small apartment of two rooms. One of them is rented out to students like me. And Mrs. Fleming is preparing me breakfast and dinner. I also pay her a small fee for this. And in the summer, when they leave London, they rent out their room.
And now, look, Dad, at your house with Mom. It has three floors, a billiard room, a gym, a living room of 70 squares, several bedrooms. What for? Children have left, you live alone, the guests gather at most five times a year. All the rest of the time most rooms are empty. Only mom enters them to wipe the dust. And that’s all. But these are costs: the rooms have to be heated, they must be maintained in order, you must pay taxes for them. Explain to me why they are needed.
– Well, my son? Kazakh cannot live in a small house. It’s not how we do it.
– I thought so. And look at your car park, Dad. You have a big jeep for work. Although your office is in the city center. You need to drive only for 10 minutes along the Al-Farabi street. Why do you need a huge SUV? You’re not going to the mountains on the rocks. There is one more car for my mother. Why do you need so many cars?
Mr and Mrs. Fleming have one small car. It is convenient to travel around London, it’s easier to park. And they also have bicycles. They use them more often than by car, despite the fact that they are about 70 years old. Can you imagine? When I tell Mr. Fleming about our cars, he is surprised. Why, to transport one person – your father, you need to burn 15 liters of gasoline and take a huge cabin of air, he asks me. After all, this gasoline and money to buy a car do not bring any practical benefit to anyone. They are thrown into the wind. That’s what’s insulting.
– Ha-ha-ha! I imagined myself in “Mini” or in “Golf”. My friends would laugh!
– Here! This is our difference. It is shameful for us that for an Englishman, on the contrary, is honorable.
Let’s go further. I noticed that most Englishmen buy only few clothes. Well, how few? Compared to us, a few. For example, when you first came to London, remember, you bought half of Harrods. I bought everything. So what? You did not wear those clothes at all. I wore them for a couple of times. And now you are walking in the same three suits, two jeans and three T-shirts. And now our relatives in Kyzylorda and Kazalinsk are wearing Italian clothes that I bought for rabid money in London. Perhaps, they even dig in the garden in these clothes. Mom sent them, because you were going to throw them away. That’s how we live.
A typical British would buy very cheap clothes at a discount, wear it to the holes, and then even through the Internet will sell them for at least a few pounds. They coount every penny.
– Yes. This is true. Every time I buy new things, and then I do not wear them.
– Clothes – yes. And the food? Pay attention to how we prepare our food. We eat up to the heap three times a day. Every time is like the last time. Yes, and we do not eat half of the food and just throw it in a garbage. Because the next day we want to see freshly prepared food on the table. And the same every day. Only by our remnants of food we are able to feed several families in Africa.
And how do the English, for example, Mr. and Mrs. Fleming prepare? Exactly as much as they eat. Exactly two plates. And if there was no appetite, and they did not eat, then they leave it for tomorrow and finish it.
– It’s kind of boring. There is no breadth of soul.
– Speaking of spiritual breadth, namely hospitality. Of course, we have no equal rivals. We invite guests on a grand scale. A small party – 30-50 people. The wedding is 300-500 people. In doing so, we always set the table with a extra food. Just in case. We know that every guest can come with a brother, a friend, children, grandchildren, even with a neighbor. When I tell this to the British, they faint. How can you come to someone’s celebration, and take an uninvited guest with you. For them, this is impossible. They invite few guests and the exact number. By the list. And treats are prepared for the exact number of guests. They do not have understanding of setting the table for 20-30 people. They prepare for exactly 23 people.
And then. What is a feast for us? It’s a full of snacks and salads table that is ready for the start of the event. There is no place to put your hands on the table. Then another three to four hot dishes are served during the celebration. By the end of the evening, we eat so much that we cannot get up.
And from them? They serve one salad, one main dish and one tea. And more often and generally these are just snacks and drinks. And that’s all. After all, they do not come to eat, but to meet, to talk.
– And what? Does it hinder one another?
– No, it does not. But why overeat?
– I do not know. It is accepted in this way.
– Do you know what else struck me when I went to London in the winter?
– The fact that the Englishmen wear warm clothes at their homes.
– Because they do not heat the house, like a sauna. They just save fuel. They think, why they need to spend a lot of energy on heating the whole house, if you can just dress and walk in warm clothes in a cool house.
And what about us? We used to walk around the house in shorts and a T-shirt in the winter and summer. Nothing will stop us to warm the whole house up to 25 degrees. Do you remember when we went to visit Uncle Serik in Astana, we saw how they cover their batteries with cotton blankets, because the heat was incredible from them? And the windows were opened. When I told Mr. Fleming about this, he was shocked. You must be very rich, he says, if you can afford it.
– But Uncle Serik is not to blame for such heating in Astana, they are heating maximally, but there is no heat regulator on the batteries. He also has an old socket, still Soviet-built.
– Well, Mr. Fleming is not talking about Uncle Serik. He speaks about Kazakhstan in general.
And what do you say about our coverage, dad? Did you notice that we have a central chandelier for at least five horns and a lot of additional lamps in all rooms? Do you know that in most English houses there is no central chandelier at all?
– How is that?
– They have only separate lamps above the table, above the mirror, floor lamps in the corners. They do not spend much energy on lighting the rooms at all. They spend point-to-point coverage of specific places. And they manage to save on this. In addition, they have traffic sensors in the entrances and even in many small streets. That is, the light lights up there only when the person passes. The rest of the time the lamps are not burned in vain, electricity is saved.
And in our entrances the light are switched on for the whole night. Sometimes, if the watchman forgets to turn it off, it can be switched on for a whole day too.
Dad, I’m already uncomfortable talking about such trifle, like a bathroom and a toilet. Meticulous and economical Englishman always turn off the tap while brushing his teeth. Why to waste water? While we turn on the water at the beginning of washing, and pour it until we finish washing.
Or even such a trifle: the Englishman, if he went to the toilet for a small need, will necessarily flush the water in the toilet with a small button, that is, he will spend half a tank of water. Do we really look at this? Many people in the toilet bowls do not even have a small and large button. We always flush the full tank from the heart.
– Look, I did not steal this water or this light. We honestly pay utility bills. For all the water that has been poured into the toilet, I pay out of my earnings.
– This is the most insulting! Okay, if we put the “bug” in the counter and did not pay for light and water. I do not justify such a step, but at least I understand. After all, in this case we would get some benefit. But when we just pour water into the sewerage system, we waste the light, warm it through the window, throw food into the dump, we steal ourselves without any benefit to anyone. The money are just thrown away! Yes, it’s honestly earned by you money. Not stolen. But why waste money, earned by sweat and blood? And now imagine how much resources are thrown out in the trash in the country. This is tons of oil produced by our oilmen, grown by farmers grain centners, built by the builders of the house. All of them, our entire nation is throwing some of its wealth into garbage just because they are lazy to turn off the tap or because they want to blow dust into the eyes of a neighbor.
– But is it possible to get rich on a tap or light turned off in time, son?
– That’s the whole point, Dad, that the economy of the country consists of these trifles. Each drop, each kilowatt, is gradually twisted and turns into a whole way of life. What you now feel is a tediousness and pettiness, for the English for centuries the formed way of life, which no longer bothers them, but seems to be the norm.
– I would still not be able to live like them, counting every penny.
– Oh well. Then let’s live as we are used to. So large. But in this case, let’s not complain that we live poorer than the Englishmen. Let’s not be surprised that they have one of the highest living standards, but we do not. We will not complain that they have a comfortable life, but we do not. We will not envy their retirees who travel around the world, and our old people dig potatoes in the garden till old age. After all, everything is interconnected. We want to live richer, then we must live more economically.