Given my lifelong interest in language and my similarly long-suffering side project of mastering both the understanding and execution of a variety of accents [don't ask; it's just something one does, in my family -- though of course if you're truly interested you are welcome to ask; between my brother and myself we have a decent-sized chunk of the world covered. He is better with India, Pakistan,Iran, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Spain and the whole of North, Central and South America (!); I do well with England,Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Italy, New Zealand, Japan and North America], you might imagine the near-panic that occurred recently due to a very realistic dream. In the dream I was with an Australian co-worker who was giving me details about a new print project. But I could only understand about every other word. Said co-worker does have a tendency to mumble, so I thought perhaps it was him -- until a Kiwi co-worker arrived on the scene and, when I asked him to repeat what the other guy was saying, I realized I was unable to get about 50% of his speech as well. It dawned on me then (very cinematically, I might add) that I was losing my ability to understand non-American accents.
Yes, yes, paging Dr. Freud. Stop that snickering, please; it's rude.
For a normal person, this was akin to losing the ability to, I don't know, dial a telephone or open a bottle of wine, i.e.: dreadful and possibly tragic.
Gentle reader, please pray with me that these dreams do not continue.