Ngoc is a mathematician friend of mine. Fahmi and I lived with Ngoc for one year in college. She does indeed have 2 mindsets- the academic, analytical one and the socializing, lenient one. It is very interesting to observe that these two overlap sometimes- though it makes things much easier with the analytical mind- (finding road directions, assembling bikes etc.), it is amusing how the very normal vague comments (you-know, whatever) takes its toll on her- she just needs to get exactly what you mean.
I figured out that it is not only Ngoc, but it is a mathematician's syndrome to be very specific. The three of us got a chance to travel to Wollongong together to see Ngoc's math professors. General impression: I've never seen such a precise conversation before- each mathematician really takes note of what exactly the person says, and initiates the following conversation by analyzing what exactly the person means. This means its almost very annoying to them when you say vague comments like- that dish is okay.. they need to quantify how okay was the dish!
Living with a mathematician: not surprisingly, being close to someone means that you almost inevitably take on some of their characteristics. But living with Ngoc has changed my mindset a lot- first, I learnt that if you can pinpoint and state the exact problem, almost everything can be solved. This has changed my thinking profoundly as this rule applies to everything- fixing things, cooking, personal relationships etc.! I also begin to see that one doesn't have to become a professional themselves to understand the concepts in that field- Mathematics trains you to quantify the problem and hand, looking past all that jargon and complexities of any field.