What feels different about being back in town after four years away? Major renovations to all the schools in our neighborhood for one, and a new public library where there used to be just a hole in the ground for two. The selection of Greek yogurts and hummus flavors have exploded in the supermarket. And my street now has restricted parking, for reasons I can't comprehend. We never had a problem with all day parkers from outside the neighborhood. Well it's a privilege that costs a modest amount annually and now allows me to all day park in front of houses closer to the Metro.
But the thing that has probably changed the most is my awareness to the unstated assumptions about language and popular culture. Reading the newspaper isn't just about the vocabulary; you also have to get the shorthand that takes the place of the full back story. The headlines are minefields of double entendres, metaphors, and colloquial expressions. And doing a crossword puzzle requires that you have a certain level of knowledge when it comes to history, literature, film, and especially in America, sports.
Here are just a few of the tidbits that have caught my eye in recent days. Do you have others to add to the list?