Oh, The Omni

‘Tis day 5 of the #AKwritingChallenge and today’s topic is my first car. I loved that car. It’d have 1.5 million miles on it if I still had it and that’s okay, I would still love it.

I had a little grey Dodge Omni with darker grey accents. The interior was pretty  basic. It was a manual/stick and got the best gas mileage of any car I have ever owned in my life.

Like most people, I got my license when I turned 16. I was the third youngest kid in my class, I believe, which made me a Junior when everyone else got their license Sophomore year. Yes, that made me a little pouty. There weren’t many times I hated being one of the youngest in class, and that was one of the major ones.

I was working at the local (good) pizza joint (not the icky one from my post about how The Internet Ruined Concert-Going). I had started that job the day after my 13th birthday because the owner said no one should ever work on their birthday. The entire time I had that job, I never did. That set a standard for other jobs.

Side note: my mom works for the City as a tax assessor and they’re given a paid day off in the pay period of their birthdate. How cool is that?

The car was a hand-me-down. It was the first new one my mom bought after the divorce and it definitely got the job done. If you don’t know what an Omni is, the closest comparison would be a Ford Escort and those have changed dramatically since the 90’s. They were practically twin cars at one point.

My brother had bought a Camaro, so the Omni came to me when mom decided to buy her next car. My sister eventually took that one. She drove it forever, too.

Though I was of the youngest in my class, most of my friends graduated two years before me so I hung out with people a year below. They had licenses but no cars. I ended up carpooling 5 of us in my tiny car. I had to leave an hour before school started and I’m not sure I was on time once. Most of my rides home were just me, however, as I usually had to haul butt to get ready for work or head over to Floria Road.

Someday I am going to write a book purely about Floria Road and what we did there. I’ll have to collect some stories from others but … yeah. That was crazy. And my Gramma can’t read that book. Then again, she’d probably choose not to anyway. Ha!

You know those posts next to gas pumps that are there purely to stop idiots from driving into the pumps? I scraped the entire driver’s side door down one of those. My friend wanted to paint a band-aid over it but I left it as is as a battle scar.

We replaced speakers with one giant house speaker in the back at one point. The car was a hatchback and that made it super loud and it echoed excessively. It also messed up the electrical.

There were days where the windshield wipers would go if I turned the headlights on. Or the wipers would just go for shits and giggles. The night I quit the job to go wait in line for tickets to Phish the wipers were refusing to work altogether and it sprinkled. I took that as a sign to get the hell out of there – on top of the whole “it’s my birthday, blow me” thing.

I don’t remember what kind of repair work my mom had done to it before she passed it to me, but I know we put in at least 2 clutches and a transmission. I had handy friends who still work on cars today and I was spoiled with brakes and oil changes and major repairs that should have cost an arm and a leg.

This was back when gas prices were at like $0.90 a gallon and it had a small tank and, like I said, it was a manual. $10 could get me to Ohio and most of the way back. It was insane.

Now I drive a Pacifica and I’m thrilled if I actually get the 18 miles to the gallon it claims I am during my city driving.

Ultimately I don’t remember what happened to that car, and that bums me out. The only vehicle I’ve had that’s reminded me of it was my mom’s Cavalier. Though it was an automatic, it had similar mpg and characteristics. She still has that though it’s definitely showing its age.


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