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“I’m ready to be in America,” Terri said, mostly because she’d been stuck in the middle of the backseat for two hours.

“We’re almost there,” I said. “Look, I can see the gates.” I usually walk across the border, so it wasn’t until we drew closer in the car that I realized what else had changed. There were a hilariously large number of cameras in every direction we looked. Some low, some high, some eye level. As we inched forward, it felt like we were going through some kind of camera car wash.

About to go through the camera car wash

About to go through the camera car wash

“All eyes on us,” I said, mostly to diffuse the weird tension that such an onslaught of security can create. After we’d been approved (by a glaring border agent whose curtness offended my father so much he swore he’d write letters), we were back on the open road. “Thanks again for driving, Dad,” I said.

“Are you kidding me?” he said. “It was my pleasure. I’d forgotten how fun TJ could be.”

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Frederick Simson July 25, 2013 @ 6:45 p.m.

I used to work in TJ in the BS years (Before Sentri). Even though San Ysidro was closer It was always faster to drive to Otay Mesa to cross the border. Like your father I would be a little disoriented there now. All you have to do to stop the window washers is to frown in an exaggerated grimace while shaking your head and wag your index finger from side-to-side through the windshield. Use the face you'd show to a kitten who just peed on the carpet. They understand that, no words needed. Keep all windows closed! An open window is like a teller at the bank to a street vendor.

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