I'm looking for a short story I read either in Asimov's or Analog, probably in the late 90's. It starts with a bag of frozen peas spilling all over the floor in a world where everyone instinctually knows exactly how many peas there are without counting. A world in which 1st grades don't need to learn addition and subtraction because it's obvious and instead learn calculus. Math, in terms of numbers, is unheard of in his society, however the calculation of facial expressions is a very difficult task involving the angle and height of eyebrows etc. One child cannot figure out numbers but reads facial expression with ease. It's sort of like a reverse autism story. Does anybody know the title of this story or what issue it was in? Thanks so much!!

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Analog SF&F magazine, March 2007 "Trucks" by Amy Bechtel. From a review site:

Amy Bechtel postulates a world in which the typical person demonstrates savant skills when it comes to numbers in "Trucks.” The flipside, however, is that daily tasks like reading expressions and basic social interactions are more difficult for people. Ryan is a young boy who has been labeled slow because of his inability to understand numbers, but his mom slowly comes to realize there are more ways to look at his situation than first meet the eye. However, Bechtel never really explains how her world and the rewiring of people’s minds came to happen, so even though the story is meant to be read allegorically, the fact that there is no explanation for her world tends to get in the way.

An interesting flip-flop world where the children want to be the "Slipstick Libby" calculators on the first trip to the Moon, but adults have to measure eyebrows, lips, and eyes on faces by millimeters to guess emotions.

  • That's the one; thank you!!!
    – Sot1l
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 16:53

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