noun | gen·til·i·ty | \jen-‘ti-lə-tē\
1a : the condition of belonging to the gentry
1b : gentlefolk, gentry
2a (1) : decorum of conduct : courtesy
2a (2) : attitudes or activity marked by false delicacy, prudery, or affectation
2b : superior social status or prestige evidenced by manners, possessions, or mode of life
Signs run up and down the eastern seaboard: hidden to the average naked eye; revealed to those knowing the signs already. Find a map: an honest-to-goodness paper map stained with ketchup and mustard and grease and oil and the grit and grime of road trips - not some satellite-produced, digitally- rendered version glowing on a glass-like screen of modern technomancy. Look at the names of counties and townships and villages and roads, of lakes and streams and rivers, of mountains and valleys and other geographic terrain. Pick a place at random: throw a dart, choose from a hat, select a site with a nice-sounding name; any place will do. Visit the churchyard cemeteries: the old ones with family plots marked out by mausoleums or low stone walls or wrought-iron fences. Open the phone book: few – if any – of the names found engraved on these eternal monuments remain. Drive the roads: the ones with nearly unpronounceable names or names that don’t sound like they look they should. Ask the old timers and no two of them will agree on how the name should be said. Look around: the brick buildings of the once-bustling downtown with fading painted signage now converted into loft apartments or the tourist-centered shops one finds in any small town trying to regenerate before it succumbs to the appeal and attraction of larger cities or becomes boarded up all together the old houses too large for the lots they sit on surrounded by smaller houses encroached on by modern buildings threatened by trailer parks pulled down by vines and weather and ravages of time Take it all in and consider it all together: the cemeteries, the names, the architecture, the decay, and the signs all point to one thing: the long, slow, inevitable decline and fading away of a once-proud gentility.
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