Fiction by Paolo Bacigalupi

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Posted on Nov 15, 2007 in Blog, Writing | 15 comments

Car Wrecks

Update Nov. 19. She’s up and running again. The meds were the problem. Much relief.

Update Nov 16, 1pm: We thought she was okay at the time, but now she’s really dizzy and nauseous and we aren’t sure if it’s the pain medications the hospital gave her or if it’s something else that happened during the accident. The worst thing is that it’s hard to guess what the cause is so we have to sit and wait until her pain medication wears off completely to see if the symptoms are still there. I’m feeling pretty distressed.

My wife just had a car wreck today. A driver t-boned her on the highway– drove right into her side as she was going 55-60mph. Big screaming accident. The car shredded down the driver’s side. Cops and ambulances on the scene. But, other than a sore shoulder, the doctors say Anjula should be fine. Our cute little Honda Civic is probably totaled and we’re feeling pretty shaken up, but hey, it looks like our life gets to be put back together.

Some thoughts:

1) I would be really sad if my wife were dead. I still feel frightened by this. I can’t help thinking about how lucky she was that she was hit where she was, that she was seat-belted, that the airbags went off, that the car didn’t flip, that there weren’t any other vehicles involved, etc. A lot of luck goes into walking away from a high-speed wreck. Anjula seems to have gotten all of it.

2) Sometimes, it feels like the universe is trying to pinch you and squash you like a bug. A friend of mine, about fifteen minutes before Anjula’s accident, said to me, “I’m feeling really nervous today. I keep getting the feeling something bad is going to happen.” And I made a joke about it and mentioned that my computer ran chkdsk again when it booted this morning, and the hard drive is probably about die permanently, and that’s probably what he’s feeling, blah blah blah — And then Anjula called me from the crash site. I’m still a little weirded out by the coincidence. I can almost feel these big universal fingertips reaching down and squeezing and saying, “Damn. Missed again.”

3) The one time it’s been good for Anjula to be the token South Asian in Delta Country, is when she’s in a car wreck. Despite the high speed of traffic on the road, three different acquaintances of hers recognized her as they zipped by, and pulled over to help — so within minutes she had lots of support on the scene. Apparently, if you’re the only brown person anybody knows, you really stand out. I’m still tickled by this.

PS: the above word is tickled (as in tee-hee), not ticked. (thanks for pointing out the odd way the word reads, Charlie) We were quite touched at the amount of support Anjula got on the scene, some of it from people who we only know as acquaintances. It’s actually pretty humbling to have so many people leap out and want to help.


  1. yow. i’m glad to hear that she’s ok. I hope you’re OK. sending good thoughts your way, my friend.

  2. Yikes! Echoing the statements above that I’m very glad she’s okay.

    I was in a highway accident a few years ago… spun car+trailer 180 degrees in high wind… and it is rattling for a good long while. I hope her shoulder eases up soon and that the heebie jeebies clear in shortest order too.

  3. Dude. Holy shit. I am massively pleased to offer sympathies on the scare & the loss of the car, and not on her death.

  4. Wow, that’s really scary, man. Glad to hear that she’s going to be all right.

  5. Wow, I am so glad she’s all right. That’s scary.

    I’m still a little tickled by this.

    The first time through, I misread this as “a little ticked”.

  6. Thanks everyone. We’ve got these really good painkillers for Anjula, so she’s doing just fine right now.

    And yes, Charlie, tickled, not ticked. We both think it’s sort of heartwarming.

  7. Sending good thoughts. It’s great she had so much support.

  8. Wow, and your hard disk DID crash. I’m so glad that Anjula’s mostly fine.

  9. I am so glad she is okay. I think that to have a family is to be so hyperaware of danger on a new level. I wish I’d gone skydiving before I got married, cause I never will now…

  10. GAH! More good thoughts to Anjula.

  11. There are days when such a scenario runs through my mind, and it’s frightening as hell. To have the real thing happen… I hope that this new bout works out to just be some leftover and minor event from the crash.

    And Lou, I did skydive (and bungee jump) before the family. And now my older boy figures when he’s a young man we can go and do that all together. We’ll see.


  12. I hope it was the pain medication causing the weirdness and that all is well again.

    It looks to me as if the Bacigalupi clan has a lot to celebrate this Thanksgiving :)

  13. Yeah, it was the meds. Anjula is up and running again. Sore ribs but otherwise back to normal. :-)

  14. Whoa! I am so sorry for your wife to have gone through the trauma but I am glad she is okay now. I am sorry for you to have to endure the stress as well. My prayers are with the three of you.

    Re: 2)
    The universe does not give a tinker’s cuss about us. Watch a few episodes of Planet Earth and you realize it’s not about us. Sad but true. Scary but true.

    Re: 3)
    I find this terribly amusing to read for some reason. I am glad she has such good friends to help her.