“Can I give you some feedback?” I asked my spouse Ming.  I wanted to tell him how he had been uncouth.  “It’s negative feedback.  Two of them.”

“Sure,” he said.

Ming is the only person I’ve ever known who actually wants feedback about what he’s doing and how he made a mistake.  Most people seem to pretend they never make mistakes.


“Wow, the other day, you were being so uncouth,” I told Ming.  “We were in the kitchen, and a few people were around.  You were standing there in the kitchen, eating the rice with cheese.  And you were just shoveling it into your mouth, like this.”  I made the motion of how he fed himself quickly.  “And the cheese was all melted.  So there were strings hanging down.  Not just one string, but many strings!”

“Oh my god,” Ming said.

“Right!  And you were eating really fast, voraciously!  And then you ate so fast, a little bit went on the floor,” I said.

“Uhhh,” Ming groaned, regretfully.

“And that’s when I told you that you were being uncouth.  There’s a reason people eat at a table.  Getting food on the floor isn’t very nice for other people, if they are the ones cleaning the floor,” I said.

“Ok, yeah.  You’re right,” he said.

“It’s one thing to eat like that in your own home.  But around other people, not so much,” I said.

“I’m glad you told me,” Ming said.

second example

“Then tonight, me and the other community members were sitting there, and you were at the sink and started blowing your nose in the sink!  I was like–oh my god.  Don’t tell me he’s blowing his nose in the kitchen sink,” I said.

“Uhhh,” Ming groaned again, in social pain.

“That was not appropriate!  I know you used to do that at home, when we lived in Las Vegas just the two of us.  I didn’t like it.  Maybe I shouldn’t have let you do that!” I said.  I thought about boundaries and where we draw the line.  “But other people really don’t want to see you do that.”

“Ok, yeah.  Right,” Ming said.

“And it’s probably not safe with pandemic,” I said.  “If you have a germ, you might have launched it air born,” I said.

“I don’t remember doing that,” he said.

“Wow, you don’t remember?  Yeah, you did that,” I said.  “I couldn’t even tell you to stop.  So uncouth!  I noticed you were doing it, and prayed no one else was paying attention.”

thank you

“Thank you for telling me all this!” Ming said.

“Sure!” I said.  “Please be more cautious.  It’s like you’re a bachelor, from living with me so long.  You just do whatever you want!”

“I won’t do that again,” he said.


Ming is multi-disabled.  He has narcolepsy, a learning disability around language, and an ocd diagnosis that I think is actually autism.

There’s a narcolepsy thing called automatic behaviors.  It’s when you’re doing things you don’t even know you’re doing.  Microsleeps can be involved!  It’s a big deal and can be dangerous.  It’s kind of like sleepwalking.  But of course a person with narcolepsy can fall asleep at any time.

Being social is hard.  I’m the kind of person who pays too much attention in social situations, watching everything, struggling hard to be appropriate.  That can be part of masking.  Ming is the kind of person who pays too little attention, possibly.  I’m called over-sensitive, while Ming might be under-sensitive.

So many ways to be neurodiverse.  I’m lucky that Ming is open to feedback.  I hope I can continue to love myself while being that open too.

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