Growing up, my family and I would often visit my Grandma in the Bronx. In her apartment, there were a few items that I identified as “grandma staples” at the time; a Scrabble Board, coffee-flavored sucking candies (that were really hard to chew) and a folding shopping cart, aka”granny cart.” As for the granny cart, I always thought of it as something from my grandparents’ generation. Apparently, I thought wrong.
After moving to Israel, one of the things I constantly noticed in the streets were those granny carts, called “agalas.” They were the best way to carry your groceries and any other items; heavy or not. Men and women of all ages would schlep them around town.
As for me, I always carried my groceries by hand from the store to my home. Although I struggled quite often with this (carrying a six-pack of water alone was really tough for me), I couldn’t bring myself to buy an agala. Yes, I always moaned and groaned while carrying the groceries home. Sometimes, I would walk super fast for a few seconds and then abruptly stop, put down my groceries and hope someone would come by and help. In those cases, since the strangers on the streets of Israel are more like family than anything else, I constantly heard, “I don’t understand why you don’t get an agala.” After finally accepting the fact that my excuses were inexcusable, I bought one.
From that moment on, everything had changed.
Having my very own agala made me sooooooo happy! All of a sudden, I began walking through the supermarket aisles like a real person; buying six packs of water, melons, frozen food, etc. I loved pushing and pulling my agala all around town, no matter how heavy it was! One time, I even used Whatapp Video so I could take my US family and friends on the agala journey with me! They loved it!
After becoming an agala user for a full week, I became so proud of it that I took it with me wherever I went, even if it was unnecessary. I couldn’t get over all the compliments I was getting at the time; it almost made my day when a woman told me that she had never seen such big wheels on an agala before.
A month after running around town with my agala, I had to take a quick trip to the grocery store. After purchasing a bottle of olive oil and multiple frozen goods, I strutted my way to the bus stop like a supermodel, pulling my agala behind me. When I arrived, lo and behold, my friend was also waiting for the same bus. Instead of saying “hi”, her first words to me were:
Friend: “Oh, gosh, I wish I brought my agala too. I didn’t realize how heavy this package of paper would be to carry.”
There it was … my opportunity to brag about my agala! I told her how life had been so amazing since buying the agala, how I get all of these envious stares from people in the street, and I even told her where she can buy the same one. I had more to say, but the bus arrived, so I had to stop talking. That only lasted a minute. Once we boarded the bus, I continued by showing her the lining inside my agala and tried to get her to feel it. I could tell she was getting bored with the conversation, but somehow I couldn’t stop myself.
Finally, it was time for me to get off the bus. My friend must’ve been thrilled. I tried to exit, but I couldn’t figure out how to get my agala down the steps. First, I attempted to push it down, but that didn’t work. So, I quickly walked down the steps with my agala bouncing behind me.
Then it happened.
My agala got caught in between the doors as they closed in. I didn’t know what to do, so I pulled and pushed my agala back and forth, which caused one of the wheels to break off. It rolled underneath the bus and fell flat down. The bus drove off and ran directly over the wheel. When I saw this, I looked up and saw my friend through the window of the bus. Our eyes locked and no words were needed. She saw my sadness and I could see hers. She felt for me. It wasn’t raining that day, but I think it would’ve made the story more dramatic, so let’s pretend it was, ok?
You are probably wondering what happened afterward. Well, I walked home that day, dragging my one-wheeled agala as the other side scraped the pavement (in the rain, wink wink). Everyone in the street either offered to help or nodded their head back and forth while making that “tisk tisk” sound.
Some may say that it wasn’t meant to be. Others may think I pushed too hard. Regardless, we had great times together and I’ll always be thankful for them.