Last weekend my husband and I were driving to my aunt’s house, the road was a little bumpy and I found myself going “wooooooh”. The only other person who had ever made that sound when driving was my dad.
My parents didn’t have many cars but none of them left a mark on us (my siblings and I) like the rumpshaker. We called it that because whenever my dad went over a 100 on the speed dial the back of the car would shake violently, just like the women shaking their groove thangs in Wreckx n Effects Rumpshaker video. I don’t know if it was something to do with the boot (trunk) or the exhaust, but boy oh boy that car would gyrate and my dad would scream out “wooooooooh” and follow on to hit the breaks. It was hilarious.
The rumpshaker was a 1986 Mitsubishi gallant and it drove into my life when I was 15. Here’s a picture of that bad boy. It was a cross between Uncle Buck’s badass jalopy, and well, a pretty cool looking car. My dad loved that car, my sibs and I, not so much, mostly because it was unreliable and unpredictable. But none of those things affected my dad, even when it had failed him for the umpteenth time he refused to drive my mum’s tiny yellow Mazda.
Its unpredictability was the best and worst thing about the rumpshaker. And no where else did it display this trait more finely than on my trips to and from (boarding) school. I always braced myself for these trips. I was not Catholic but I sure was saying a few Hail Marys before departing. My dad knew his car well and in doing so, was prepared. He’d put a few extra bricks, yes bricks, in the boot incase the jack gave out (which it did).
The thing about boarding school is that you’re constantly yearning to go home and when that time comes, you’re ready to run out of the gates. But when your dad shows up in the rumpshaker you realize it’s not going to be an easy ride out. I used to always get up early because my dad would assure me he’d come and pick me up first. Bad idea. I always prayed he’d driven the Mazda but I should’ve known better. As soon as I’d load my luggage in and get seated, he’d give it a first try, then a second, a third, a fourth, and with a nudge from me, a fifth. Then those dreaded words. “We’re going to have to push”. Imagine being surrounded by friends and having the locals come out to help push. Sometimes I just sank into the chair, hoping my friends didn’t realize it was me.
We’d be half way through the gravel road and then suddenly it would stop. My dad was not easily shamed. He gathered strangers and passersby, minding their own business and demanded without being coercive, and in a really funny way, that they help him. And they always did, we never understood why. My siblings were never left off the hook either. They hated coming to visit me knowing the rumpshaker would humble them more than they could imagine.
I’m not that into cars but I don’t think there’ll ever be a car like the rumpshaker.