The other half

There’s a phrase in English, ‘How the other half live’. It’s supposed to date to the time when the rich lived ‘above stairs’ and their servants ‘below stairs’ and highlights the difference in situation. Now it’s used to highlight any difference in situation, income, geography, or any other difference from an intangible cause, including attitude.

We had a reminder in the new house this week. Last week I phoned the local primary school. Information had come through the door about a child of the former owner who was apparently still living at our address. I informed the school that although I was delighted to hear how well the child was doing, I had no idea who they were, that they have moved and that the school might want to discuss this with the child’s parents, urgently, given it was a while ago and the parents hadn’t felt a need to tell anyone. One reason I did this was to prevent any future visitation from social services or others during which I’d have to prove the non-existence of a child that does exist but is nothing to do with me. If anything had ever happened to the child, at school or at home, if they couldn’t reach a parent on a phone number, it would be me they’d visit in person.

We have also discovered that the previous owners haven’t ended any bills at all. This means we could have kept quiet and simply racked up costs in their names, but instead we ended their accounts (as they should have done – the companies were each surprised they hadn’t done this), got their final bills sent to them and begun new ones for us. As their household was substantially larger than ours, it was in their and our interests to do this anyway. But this week we discovered that we were mistaken – there is ONE bill they moved across to their new address.

The TV cable package.

A different set of priorities. How the other half lives.

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