Please add this to the list of cultural shortcomings I possess: a near-total inability to lipread.
There are three times when lipreading becomes necessary, none of which I can ever do, anyway.
First is when you're in a group setting and someone is speaking, so if someone else wants to tell you something, he or she mouths the words and you get to guess the message. It will happen at conferences and training classrooms, and every time someone does this to me, I am puzzled. Did he say "What time are we breaking for lunch?" or, "There's a fine for taking my Crunch"?
Second is when you're at a concert or family birthday party or some other loud event and the din is such that even a person whose mouth is within 6" of your ears cannot make themselves heard. Out comes the lip mime. I have to ask someone later, did cousin Minnie say, "Brian Williams says they're not gonna make Pontiacs any more" or ,"Nine billion Prozacs under the door"?
Third, of course, is during a televised event such as a baseball game or Rush Limbaugh speech to the throngs, when unpleasant words are likely to be hollered at someone trying in vain to keep things orderly. Dear sweet Peggy excels at watching a baseball manager suggest a novel method of self-gratification to an umpire on tv -no audio of course - and then relaying the anatomically impossible arrangement to me, as I sit there helpless and not the least bit aroused.
Coupled with a propensity for spilling hot soup onto unsuspecting diners, this is another reason why I could not be a service person in a restaurant. People are always mouthing, "I need another iced tea" and I'd be over by the pitchers of drinks and sliced lemons saying "Why is he telling me he needs to pee?"