This morning I was getting ready for graduate student recruitment. I was all dressed, everything necessary was printed out, and I was just waiting to leave at 11:30am. At 11 I decided I should make sure my car had gas, since I was going to be driving recruits around in it all day. I hadn’t driven it in a couple of weeks (like usual), so I couldn’t remember how full the tank was. I wandered down to the side street next to my apartment where my parking spot was.

I opened the door, and the first thing I see is disgusting standing water filling the floor of the driver’s side. I blink for a second and then zoom out, looking around the car.

Everything is covered in mold. Everything.

The seats and seat belts had a fine film covering them. The windows were grimy. A lone old coffee cup I had been meaning to throw out was completely decomposed. I had some scraps of paper under my seat that were soaked through, a couple of books on the back seat that were soggy and disgusting. Even my trunk was damp and moldy. For a split second the biologist in me noted that there were probably at least four different species in there, but then I snapped back. Everything was wet and moldy.

I stared in disbelief. Part of my brain couldn’t comprehend the destruction of my car, since I was more concerned that I had to drive people in it in a half hour. I desperately started throwing things into the dumpster, thinking maybe I could frantically clean it. I muttered “fuck” repeatedly as a homeless person who had been dumpster diving nearby gave me a wary look and scooted away. I soon realized there’s no way I could clean this sucker, and contacted a fellow grad student working on recruitment. He picked me up and let me borrow his car, so recruitment went on without a hitch.

But now that I’m back home, it’s sinking it. I’m still wondering how the hell this happened. My car is a 2003 Camry in practically perfect condition and has never ever had sealing problems. I never have even a drop of condensation forming in my car. I’m wondering if the melting snow from “Snowpacalyse” is to blame, but I’m still skeptical – this car has survived feet of Indiana snow melting on it just as rapidly. A friend wondered if it was vandals who somehow got a hose in my car. I have no clue. I mean, this stuff happens to cars that have been abandoned for years – but parked for a couple of weeks? I’ve left it alone that long tons of times. At least my car still started, so the water didn’t damage the engine or something.

If anyone has advice as to what to do, it would be much appreciated. Where the hell do I take this kind of mess to be cleaned? Is it going to have to be re-upholstered? How much of a financial hit should I expect? My auto insurance covers flood/vandalism etc, but has a $500 deductible.

Sigh :(