No one was arrested this morning, and that was nice.
I spent last night at the community house in East L.A., and rode to Skid Row a couple miles away in the crowded hippie van at 7:20 a.m.
I had butterflies riding in the middle of the back bench seat, and the Irishman next to me said he also felt apprehension.
No one wants to get arrested. You are compelled to. That's how I explain it. Thankfully, I have been compelled to risk arrest in order to make a peaceful protest only a few times in my life.
So when the LAPD didn't show up to arrest anyone for feeding the homeless oatmeal and coffee curbside, as it did earlier in the week, I was happy. And I wasn't the only one.
After an energetic release like that, the rest of the day was especially breezy. I decided to return to the community house, which is an old, run-down Victorian mansion. About 20 people live there. One person is serving time for trespassing at the School of the Americas in Georgia while peacefully protesting U.S. foreign policy in Central America, and is expected to be released in a few weeks.
I've been calling them volunteers and hippie-types, and that's true, but officially they are the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, which was founded in 1969. The soup kitchen and hospitality house operate completely on donations.
I grew up Catholic, but have not been a practicing Catholic for many years and would have never lived amongst the Workers for most of 2006 and 2007 if the place didn't have a strong history of non-Catholic and non-Christian members. Occasionally, the non-Catholics equal or outnumber the Catholics living in the house, which is always nice, if purely from a subversive perspective.
Friday morning is chore time, and everyone allegedly finds something to do. When I lived there, I was known as someone who happened to disappear on Friday mornings. When you live with others, they get to know you pretty well, I have found.
But this morning was my first Friday morning at the community house in a while and I actually did some scrubbing. Later in the afternoon most people get together in the cramped third-floor community room for what's called Culture Critique, which can be anything from a documentary to a presentation. On Fridays, there's a little happy hour before dinner, and it was good to be together.