My friend Deborah lives way downtown on a tiny little street that was part of the city's original Old Town. Lovely nineteenth-century houses, all of them historically protected, and the street really is tiny so they all know each other and are a small but tight-knit community. Except for the Asshole Neighbour, of course.

The Asshole Neighbour is looking to sell his house. As Deborah tells it, yesterday he passed the house belonging to Jim, and Jim (probably wanting to cheer the place up a bit given the filth revealed by the spring thaw) had put a little rainbow flag in his front window box. Asshole Neighbour sees this, knocks on the door, tears the flag up in front of dumbstruck Jim and tells him that he is having an open house tomorrow and he doesn't want any of this faggot nonsense visible because it might influence potential buyers. He also adds, for good measure, that he hates Jim and his filthy faggot ways and that he looks like he has AIDS (Jim is in his seventies and is a throat cancer survivor).

So everyone but Asshole Neighbour went out yesterday and bought rainbow flags. Every house is now sporting at least one, placed strategically in upper windows or gardens where Asshole Neighbour can't get at them. Every. Damn. House. Deborah says that the street looks as gay as a picnic basket, and also that they are all hoping that Asshole Neighbour dies of apoplexy when he sees it.

Now that's what I call being right neighbourly.

ETA: I had brunch with Deborah today, and got a few more details that just make the story that much more scrumptious. She and a neighbour got up and out early, found the flag shop on Spadina closed, and were advised to go east to a store around King & Jarvis. There they found a jolly proprietor and a basket of small rainbow flags: "We'll take all those," said Deborah, "but we're going to need some big ones as well." The guy looked at her and said "you know it's not Pride yet, right?" Deborah said "You don't know the half of it." The proprietor laughed and said "Well, aren't we proud!" and rummaged around in the back for the large-sized rainbow flags. Upon being told the story of why they needed the flags he simply roared and said "Honey, the little ones are on the house."

So, armed with many flags, they outfitted the street just in time for the open house to begin at 2 pm. The gay real estate agent was more than amused. Asshole Neighbour, who is unsurprisingly a control freak, showed up to his own open house ... only to be greeted by a sea of colour (alas, the middle-of-the-street hissy fit I had anticipated didn't happen). He walked past flag after flag, went into his house, met one of his neighbours coming out, stared at her, and said belligerently "I see you have a flag." She just looked at him like he had two heads and passed without comment. The open house ended at 5 pm and by six-thirty all the flags had been carefully tucked away for the next time they would be needed. Point made.

Advertisement

And the person whose house abuts Asshole Neighbour's said that he had seen a gay couple heading into the open house, pleased but slightly confused at the exuberance of the neighbourhood, and heard them asking the real estate agent what was up. The real estate agent lowered his voice confidentially so what was said could not be heard, but was apparently followed by roars of laughter.

Here endeth the lesson.