Call it trial by tire. For five years my work week involved commuting into Tijuana from San Diego in the mornings, and then joining the line of cars back north in the evening. When I lived in Tijuana for two years after that, I continued to creep north slowly during weekend pilgrimages along with what seemed like half of Tijuana on their way to Kmart or Coach.
Over the years I came to accept that inching along at a snail’s pace is perfectly normal, and now everything seems to pale in comparison. My current commute into Los Angeles should take about 30 minutes when the traffic is moving normally but actually takes an hour. For some reason that doesn’t bother me, especially when I hear a familiar voice on the radio. This week, NPR in L.A. aired a report by Amy Isackson of KPBS-San Diego about a Tijuana woman who built a recycling machine that is used by former trash pickers – pepenadores – at the city’s trash dump. I almost felt like I was back in Tijuana again, as the stream of cars stretched out in front of me and sounds of Tijuana rushed through my car stereo.