Going to a large amusement park full of roller coasters was rare when I was little. Though I do remember going to country fairs quite a lot to ride those tinier rides. The ones that arrived the day before on a truck and looked like they’d been hot glued together just for the occasion. As kids, we assumed they were just fine, and didn’t realize we’d stepped onto the very definition of a thrill ride. Bumper cars (or Dodgems) were always fun back then, because it was like getting to drive a real car. Granted, you were taught that wrecking your car into another unsuspecting soul’s vehicle was great fun, which I now realize is a rather strange and questionable first driving lesson. Here we have a 1955 Gebr Ihle Jhle Bruchsal Bumper Car, long before my time, but just so cool that I had to doodlewash it! I’m in a limited palette phase again, so for this I chose just 3 colors: Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Rust, and Ultramarine Blue.
The peculiar thing about bumper cars is that you’re not really moving very fast. If you were, there would be whiplash and lawsuits to contend with, so instead, you’ll find yourself toddling along at slightly more than 3 miles per hour (5km). This is roughly the average human walking speed, so one supposes it’s not dissimilar to a group of people stumbling through a crowded bar. The key difference is that you get to sit down the entire time, won’t get strange looks if you start screaming, and are less likely to end the evening in a pool of sick. The entire experience is ludicrous, to be sure, but like many silly things it’s also great fun. Though it’s been years since I’ve climbed into one of these things, I can still remember the sound of sparks flying, the gentle thuds, and the squeaky sound of rubber.
I haven’t ridden in one for years, and wonder if it would be as fun as it my memories make it out to be. It’s the thrill of doing something a little naughty that makes it so enjoyable. Getting permission to drive like a maniac is rather fun and something I’ve longed to do in morning traffic just to ease the frustration. Sometimes, I wish life could be so carefree and blameless. That every little bump along the way was met with such giddy enthusiasm. Someone gets in your way and you simply affect a determined face and go around them. Or if you get stuck, then someone comes along and helps you get out of the scrape. Real life is seldom this convenient, but it does make me think that life would be pretty grand if it was nothing more than riding in bumper cars.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Rust and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.