My boyfriend is a savant. He can multiply enormous numbers by each other in seconds and can list the members of my expansive German family in order of age without ever having been formally taught. He can recall facts about obscure historical figures I’ve never heard of and whenever we share a book to read, I have to skip paragraphs to keep up with his page turning.
Of course he denies it. He shakes his head with a bemused smile, masking the beginnings of faint frustration and says, “I’m not a savant, Katzi”. Then I ask him to multiply 678 by 78 and he says “52,884”.
“Is it really?”
“I think so”, he replies modestly.
I check it on my phone. He’s always right. I have found that he finds it difficult to refuse an offer to compute.
Being a savant’s girlfriend has its complications. One becomes idle. Instead of whipping out a calculator, or typing something into Google, or even better lifting one of my enormous encyclopaedias, I call him.
Another problem I have found is that it is extremely difficult to find a fault or defect to offset the genius quality. As well as knowing lots, he’s also unbearably humble.
The difference between us is that I don’t like to let the facts get in the way of a good diagnosis. I understand that according to the Strict Diagnostic criteria, LSB unfortunately does not qualify as a savant. However, this does not stop me from addressing text messages to him with “What’s up, Savantface?”
In an effort to refute my hypothesis, this Christmas he gave me a book with the title “Islands of Genius” with a foreword written by my hero Daniel Tammet. I fear he thought that reason was the way to a change of heart. This book, like most academic works, disguises interesting and insightful points with dull prose.
Peculiarly, though I received it last week, the inside cover claims it to have been “first published in 2012”. I see this as nothing more than further evidence of LSB’s preternatural processing speed.