So this weekend, at the annual Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA) meeting this year, we had to attend a dinner-and-music-program where, as usual, there were too many people and not enough seats. My parents found a table with four empty seats, so that when Lil Baji and I arrived, we four could have a place to sit. However, our fellow tablemates had plans of their own. Although they relinquished three seats, they insisted that the last seat had to be saved for their nephew.

"You can't save seats like that!" we proclaimed (even though the night before, we did exactly the same thing).

"No! This seat is for our nephew! He is running a little late but he will be here," they replied, pulling the chair closer to themselves and staking their claim by setting the aunty's purse on top.

A few grumbles later, I just decided to avoid the conflict and shared the seat with LB. Unfortunately, I was right next to a narrow pathway and I kept getting hit by the people milling about and going to the back of the room. Plus, my left buttcheek was starting to go numb. I started to get my rage on.

"One more hit and I'm getting up and taking that seat," I told myself.

One more hit. I got up, walked over to the seat, pulled it out and (while the speeches were continuing on stage) stated that I was going to sit there. The ungracious uncle started blustering and saying no, but I told him, "Look, I'll just sit here until whomever it is you are holding this seat for arrives." He frowned but had no real choice. I planted myself firmly in the chair and stared straight ahead.

The minutes passed. The speeches started to wrap up. The missing nephew was nowhere to be found. Finally, one of the speakers announced that the dinner was going to be served and that anyone holding seats for anyone else had to relinquish them because there were still people standing in the aisles or lobby who had paid for their tickets but had nowhere to sit.

At that, the uncle had the grace to look abashed, muttered to his wife that the nephew didn't appear to be coming after all, and then allowed me to switch seats with him so that I could sit next to Cybermom. Gee. Thanks.

After dinner was served but before the music program began, who should show up, but Mr. Nephew. The aunty snapped to attention, ordered the poor harried waiter to bring a fresh plate of food (even though the table had been cleared) and to bring the special bowls of nihari and korma too. The uncle brought another chair over to squeeze in at the table, beamed around at everyone, and patted his nephew on the back. Mr. Nephew sat down, pushed the plate of food away, and, when his eyes lit upon the ice cream being served, demanded that he get some ice cream too.

Lil Baji chided, "You should finish your dinner first."

Nephew pouted, "But I'm really craving ice cream right now."

We all rolled our eyes and returned to our desserts. Suddenly, a young girl approached Mr. Nephew and, giggling like only a schoolgirl can, asked for his autograph. She was joined by two more girls, teenagers this time, who asked for an autograph and photograph. A small crowd formed around him and it became clear that this Mr. Nephew was someone famous. Someone important. Someone who commanded attention. Barf. We learned that Mr. Nephew is actually Mr. Rock Star.

"He is the Britney Spears of Pakistan," one relative of his explained. Uh, is that a compliment or the height of insult? A cluster of fans wanted his autograph, his photograph, his attention. Me? I just wanted his chair.

Anyone know who this bozo is?

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