I pride myself in being able to lipread from any angle! From upside down on the sofa, one of my favourite places to be, and sideways in the office to the rearview mirror in my car when I’ve got passengers in the back seat.
For me, the lip patterns still make sense, which is great. But sometimes I do forget that this skill isn’t always 100% reliable – and one of those occasions was yesterday.
In my office I answer to everybody’s calls of attention, whether they want to speak to me or not. So I often find myself in a conversation I didn’t need to be in just in case they were actually talking to me.
So yesterday, when my boss, still looking at her computer said, ‘I’ve been thinking about sex’ I almost spluttered my tea all over yet another keyboard.
‘You talking to me?’ I said in a very Robert De Niro way.
‘Er yes,’ she replied.
‘Sex?’ I said tentatively.
‘Er no!’ she replied beginning to laugh.
She was in fact talking about DECT, which to be fair lipreads from the side the same as sex but isn’t quite so sexy as it’s all about digital telecommunications something or other.
It reminded me of when I used to have to do the word test as part of my hearing assessment at the audiology clinic.
As I’ve said before, during my teens, when a lot of my hearing went, I became quite stubborn, angry, and a teeny tiny weeny bit attitudy about my deafness.
I missed important appointments there were long waiting lists for, I insisted on attending all my tests alone – excluding my poor Rents in the process – there may have been some door slamming, but perhaps my worst behaviour was in my word test one day when I had simply had enough.
My long-suffering audiologist had been testing me since I was 10, so she was more than used to the bundle of emotion I often was.
But, I’m not really sure she was prepared that day.
OK, so there I sat, in front of the big black speaker waiting for the man to delcare, ‘Word list one’ and so it began.
Now, word lists work on three levels, the first part of the word, the middle and the end. So that means there are lots of similar words listed together.
So angry was I that day about my deafness that I replaced every word I kind-of heard, with a rude one.
So ship became... erm can I swear on here?
And shunt became...
OK, OK you get the picture!!!!
So there I was, smiling sweetly, ‘trying my hardest’ and swearing my head off.
To her credit, my audiologist sat there and marked me, or rather failed me, and didn’t say a word.
And do you know, I found those few minutes more therapeutic than any hearing therapy can offer.
Sometimes you just gotta let off steam.
So I’m gonna duck off now.