Thursday 13 August 2009

Lipreading from the bus

I love people watching from the bus on my journey home from work. But better still, I like lip watching.

One of the skills I've picked up over the years of getting steadily deafer is the ability to lipread.

When I was younger, I used to practise with the TV news on mute so I'd get better and therefore hear a bit better. And now, I'm not bad at all at getting complete conversations from lip patterns alone.

Yesterday, the traffic was bad, my bus was packed and I had a window seat overlooking the pavement. Each time we stopped, I found someone to watch and at one particular stop I saw a boy of about 12 with his mum and dad and little brother.

'Why do we have to get the bus?' I lipread him saying to his mother. 'Can't we get a taxi instead?'

His mum gave him a withering look, which I'm guessing meant no.

They were laden with shopping bags – perhaps out-of-towners on a school holiday shopping trip, or tourists on holiday. But whatever they were, the boy didn't seem impressed at the idea of getting on a bus.

Next, there were two young women who'd been caught in the rainstorm that had descended upon rush hour. They were giggling and asking each other how their make-up looked, licking their fingers and running them under their eyes to wipe away the smudged mascara.

And then, right in front of me on my bus was a loud, brash man talking on his mobile phone. He droned on and on and all I could hear was noise...

It seemed ironic that inside the bus was a noisy world I couldn't understand but outside, there was a world that although silent, I could understand perfectly.

Kinda topsy turvy, but actually kinda cool.


Anonymous said...

Very good post, I enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

I can lip read too. But I'm yet to feel completely confident in my lip reading skills, even though I did go to classes once that helped. Its been a while since I've observed people like that while on the bus. Maybe I should do it again.

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