Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

Aniraz and I were watching BBC today. Or rather, we were trying to watch BBC, but the program kept getting interrupted with a commercial that was rather carelessly thrown in, the same one every time. In it, a man and a woman walked purposefully closer and closer to the camera as they extolled the virtues of said cable provider.

They didn’t even wait for the commercial breaks, they just threw their poor-quality, badly-scripted commercial right into a perfectly good episode of Top Gear. And they did it precisely every five minutes.

“And the Lamborghini doesn’t at all compare to the…:::static::: Now! New cable service, 50 channels…:::static:::…car is an absolute beast, uglier than a camel with gingivitis and…:::static:::…First time, for you. Music, entertainment, and much more…:::static:::…But at only 75,000 pounds, is this car not a bargain?””

We patiently glared at the TV the first time it happened.

The second time it happened, Aniraz said, “Boy, that’s irritating.”

The third time it happened, I said, “I don’t care how many channels this cable company has, I’m going to boycott it.”

The fourth time it happened, Aniraz and I looked at each other and unanimously decided that if we ever met the people in the commercial, we were going to kick them. Really. Right in the teeth. And when we were done kicking them, we were going to kick whoever had hired them, and when that said kicking was done, we were going to kick the cameraman over and call it a day.

Then, somewhere in Islamabad, lightning flashed, a black-cat yowled, someone walked under a ladder and our doorbell rang. And the woman from the commercial appeared in our living room.

I am not joking. I am not even artfully fibbing. I went down the stairs to see who my father had let in, and it was the same woman that I had just vowed to kick. I bit my lip, stifled my heart attack and served tea and pleasantries. When I slunk back into the kitchen for teaspoons, I heard my father call Aniraz downstairs. From my vantage point behind the kitchen door, I saw Aniraz come down the stairs with hand extended and ready for a shake, and then go pale and wide-eyed as she shook the woman’s hand, the same woman’s hand from the same commercial that had been irritating the holy-heck out of us for the last half hour. (“I thought the people from the commercial heard us through the TV, and they were coming to get us!” she told me fearfully in the kitchen.)

I cautiously introduced the subject of the commercial, asking her whether she had cable tv? If so, had she seen the commercial? Yes. Was that her? Yes. It was. I swallowed my tea and nervously asked if the other person in the commercial, the man in the suit with the excessive hand-motions who seemed so disturbingly enthusiastic about digital cable, could he be the husband of hers that was standing outside of our gate at that very second? *gasp!* No. Thank God, it wasn’t. I breathed a sigh of relief. I might have been able to take her, her being petite and not so brawny looking, but that other guy, I wouldn’t want to try kicking him. You never know if all that hand-waving in the commercial was the product of years of King-Fu training.

As it turns out, she’s our next-door neighbor. She’s a legal consultant in the cable company, and when they decided to do the commercial, they just grabbed her and a man from a department downstairs and told her to say her lines and walk towards the camera. And unlike her TV persona, she doesn’t interrupt you every five minutes and talk about cable. Which is a pleasant. And she’s a very sweet lady, and not at all as seen on TV. I must shamefully admit that when Aniraz and I grew tired of seeing her face every five minutes, we started saying un-nice things about it. Which is back-biting, but we tend to forget that the people inside that little electronic box are actually people. (What can I say, we’re too stupid to handle home electronics.)

Seeing as how she’s just left, and I’ve given myself a severe headache from suppressing tears of laughter, amazement, and disbelief, I’m going to wind this up with a moral. Be careful who you vow to kick on TV. They may actually be nice people, they could even be your next-door neighbors. Or even worse, they could hear you through the TV, and then they’d come to get you!

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