On Saturday, I evicted someone from their home. Or I think I did. It’s a little hard to tell when home is a blanket, a single shoe, a filthy t-shirt, five large Budweiser cans, a yellow disposable razor, two Kit Kat wrappers, and a used syringe. All of it under a bush.

It didn’t feel good, I can tell you that, and I’ve had to do it weekly since Dixie and I have started teaching again. Our business is the Fun Institute. Pre-pandemic, we taught adult improv classes at a sweet black box theater. But, like all theaters, it’s shut down until… well, that’s the big question isn’t it?

But we had a huge tribe! We were almost like a church. Every Saturday morning, we filled that theater full of good-natured adults willing to fail in public, (that’s one definition of an improvisor); adults eager to play and create stories together (another definition.)

So, when churches and gyms got the okay to carry on in limited fashion here in Santa Cruz, Dixie and I figured, The Fun Institute is kind of a cross between the two, why not figure out a way to raise some spirits in these dark times? Thus was mask-wearing, temperature-taking, socially-distanced, parking-lot, small-class improv created. It’s not the same, obviously, but it does scratch the itch. We’ve been at it for five weeks now, and I can honestly say, for those two hours, I laugh.

But there’s a darker side. In preparation for these classes, Dixie and I have to go down and clean up the area. Due to its geographical history, it’s always been a nice private spot for people down on their luck to do… whatever. The geographical history I’m referring to is the 1918 earthquake, which created a sinkhole where the Art League, home to The Broadway Playhouse, now sits. It’s why the artists could afford to buy the land. Because it was a sinkhole! My point being, the building rests just a short stairway down from the sidewalk, making it a good place to get a little privacy. It also boasts a lovely garden setting.

Now, with the building shuttered, with homelessness booming, and in the wake of the horrendous CZU fire that burned 925 residences making homelessness even more of an issue, the garden has become even more of a hangout.

Homelessness. Do you see it in your neighborhood? We have whole tent cities here in Santa Cruz. Like the Hoovervilles of the 1930s, only these are…what? Trump Estates? I dunno. I don’t think we can blame everything on Trump. Although, I will say, he hasn’t done much to help the situation, and, in my humble opinion, has made it worse.

But who did I evict on Saturday? What kind of life are they leading, shooting up under the bushes like that, leaving just one shoe? It’s a lot for this heart to hold.

Whoever you are, I hope you have a home, and know your purpose. I hope you have love. Your health.

In the meantime, Dixie and I will continue cleaning up the garden each week and providing a little joy.

That’s it for today. Remember to live the love. It’s all we’ve got.