Is That an Ice Cream Truck? No, It’s the Afilador!


Having been born and raised in Miami, you take some things for granted. It wasn’t until I lived in Pensacola that I realized just how true that was.

I grew up with a Vacita (Farm Stores) on almost every corner. The lazy man’s convenience store. Where you could drive up and get some milk or ice cream. Heck, you can even get hot food and wine. When I asked where the nearest Vacita was in Pensacola, people looked at me like I had three heads. What do you mean a store that you drive through?

When someone did something that seemed impossible to have done without an incredibly crazy amount of luck, I would call them a Cag. I hadn’t realized that nobody had a fucking clue what I was talking about. Because, it turns out, Cag was short for cagar, which literally means to poop. And while one would assume that pooping would mean something bad (and in some cases, it does. Like when you tell someone, “lo cagastes”) This actually means that something lucky happened. I know. It doesn’t make any kind of sense. Unless you’re Cuban.

Or when I was waiting at a traffic light to make a left turn and would hope for the fletch. Short for flecha. You, know. The arrow that indicates it’s ok to turn.

Or refer to my chanclets (slang for chancletas – flip flops.)

Again, I was met with incredulous stares.

But one of my most favorite things about Miami, that I didn’t realize didn’t exist in other parts of the country, is the Afilador.

This is an ice cream truck-like vehicle, complete with a little “song.” But instead of serving up refreshing treats, this shop on wheels offers to sharpen your knives and other tools.

It’s seriously amazing. If you haven’t seen one around your ‘hood, you’re missing out. My kids are so intrigued by this whole concept that every time the guy drives down our block, they laugh and chase after the truck – even knowing full well that it’s not ice cream in there.

Is there anything special about the town you live in that anyone else just wouldn’t understand? Leave a comment below!


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