Wednesday, July 2, 1997

My Wet Car

Here's the message that I posted to the Star Tribune's Message Board section, edited and re-formatted. At the end you'll find some pictures of my car taken the next day. Why? Because I have too much free time.

Tuesday, July First, 1997, at about 8:20-8:30 pm.

I work in Plymouth, and live in South Minneapolis. On my way home from work, I stopped at a video store on 22nd and Hennepin. When I left the video store, I drove around the block, where I hit a huge puddle in the street. The car sputtered and died. I figured it was just an ordinary semi-deep puddle and had no clue what was about to happen. It was raining quite heavily and I didn't feel like getting out of the car, so I coasted to a stop, parked illegally and planned to sit in the car, eat my take out food I had just bought, and wait the storm out. I changed my mind when I looked down to see the inside of the car slowly filling up with water. By the time I gathered up the things I thought to take with me, the water was up to the middle of the door (on the outside) so I rolled the window down and climbed out the driver's side window.

I left one window open a crack, and the other window open a few inches, soI could retrieve stuff from inside, and so the car wouldn't trap air and float away. (By this time I figured I'm screwed, the car is ruined, who cares if it gets more wet on the inside.) I proceeded to wade across the street in (by that point) hip deep water and some nice people at a youth shelter called "The Bridge" let me come in and sit down. After a while I realized I'd forgotton my cell phone, and a box of Lego bricks I bought earlier in the day. So I waded back into this water and retrieved both items, and discovered that cell phones don't float.

I watched the water rise and rise and rise. By the time I realized I could probably walk back to civilization the water was higher than the dashboard--higher than the hood of my car. That's when my tail lights went on and stayed on, underwater, until after I left. I stayed and watched it for a while, praying to god it wouldn't float away and hit somebody's nice car, and mess up my insurance. After a Dodge Neon bobbed up and down, then halting floated down the block, and my car didn't move or bob at all, I figured it wasn't going to and went to one of the restaurants there and drank coffee until one of my friends came to get me. We got a garbage bag from the video store and put it over the passenger side seat in his car so I wouldn't totally soak it. He drove me home where I showered for a really long time then threw out the clothes I was wearing. At this point it finally hit me that my car is screwed and so am I. I ended up taking sleeping pills to get to sleep, after staring at the ceiling for hours.

The next day (Wednesday) I went back to take a look at the car, push it to be legally parked, and salvage my CDs and stuff from it. The entire inside is covered with mud, twigs, leaves, dirt, and more dirt. Did I mention dirt? After seeing the car in the daylight, I decided to write the whole thing completely off--the only thing I bothered to retrieve that day was the parking pass for my apartment building. On a whim I attempted to start the car and I almost got it started -- if I really put some effort into it, I probably could get it going again. But if you could smell the inside of it now, you'd understand why I decided to abandon it.

My only question is, how can I get the city to impound this car for me? I don't ever want to look at it or deal with it again.

See pictures below.

For three of the pictures, I added a blue line along where I recall the water being. This should give some idea of what a fun time I had.

Reports I heard afterwards indicated that approximately 4 inches of rain fell in about 45 minutes. This was the most unbelievable torrential rainfall I've ever seen in my short life.