Nothing is more sad than a person alone for the holidays — it's the one time of year to place differences aside, put on your best silk kimono, and invite loved ones into your home for a thimble of Chambord.

Oh my family and I always have a little get-together at my parents' place, too. It's a real Norman Rockwell kind of thing: a warm stove, mulling spices, the inevitable conversation about lifestyle choices.

Usually it's about this time I slip on my velvet jacket and head for home.

I should tell you, I love groups so much I collect pictures of pack behavior — I've got this one poster of a bunch of little foxes sleeping together in their den. Another one of bees. I'm crazy about community, which is why I just have to have all my friends over during the cold winter nights.

Some couples from the South Side, a handful of college kids I've met online, this yoga instructor — they all come over to my loft and we all lounge around on the 30 or 40 beanbags I have in my living space, all mellow on Sauvignon blanc and patAc.

And maybe somebody suggests we start a massage circle. And maybe I get some hot oils from a friend for a present.

And maybe that leads to, say, some touching, you know?

The holidays are a time for people to come together, and I, for one, am happy to give till it hurts.

For the Holidays

1. Sacred steel. Nothing says family like pedal steel and multicultural music: Robert Randolph and the Family Band play the National Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. 612-1900.

2. Swaying together. Nothing also says family like New Potato Caboose, the Widespread Panic-era jam band that's playing a reunion show at Toad's Place Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m. 648-TOAD.

3. Musical collaboration. The Richmond Symphony Chorus, the Greater Richmond Children's Choir and the Richmond Symphony join forces for “Let It Snow!” at the Landmark Theater Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. 262-8003.


The team spirit around here is killing me, man. I'm telling you right now if they make us do the ropes course next summer I am outta here. You see that woman a couple rows over, in that cubicle? The one with the Beanie Babies lined up? Seriously? The '80s are over, honey. You're 40. I have nightmares about what her house looks like inside.

Anyway, you can see who I'm talking about. So picture us out on this team-building thing. Of course it's summer. And I'm talking like 100 degrees. We've gotta make sure every person makes it across this wall. One side to the other. Awesome! So imagine that woman hanging halfway over, arms on one side, stomach on the other. Three of us are pushing her, basically getting hernias. It's like we're trying to heave a piano over the Titanic. And we're all sweaty. Let me tell you I will never look at a sack of wet potatoes again. Togetherness? Just let me make my quota and go home, OK? I don't need it.

I live alone and it's like paradise.

I've been asking for my own office now for, I don't know, like, since I got here? There was an empty one. That guy over there. What he did was, he goes into human resources with a doctor's note. Says he has embarrassing, uh, stomach problems. Yeah, can't be out here with the rest of us or it will harm his self-esteem. What a sham. Stop eating burritos, buddy. But hey, it got him that sweet office.

Classical music is my thing. Handel, Bach — soothing stuff, man. Balances you. It's how I tune out all this crap around here. Friends are overrated. I can identify with Beethoven, too. Yeah, it's a tragedy that he ended up deaf and all. I get that. But at least he didn't have to hear announcements about “The Very Merry Company Holiday Party.” Yes, we do it all — the tree one day, light a Menorah candle the next. Then there's Kwanzaa.

For the Holidays

1. Lone hero. An alien Keanu Reeves (the character, not the actor) visits earth to warn the planet of its most certain end. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” opens in movie theaters Dec. 21.

2. Solitary stage. Scott Wichmann's one-man show, “This Wonderful Life” plays at the Barksdale Theatre Nov. 28 through Jan 11. 282-2620.

3. Quiet ride. Enjoy a free horse-and-carriage rides in Shockoe Slip, Dec. 5-6 between 6 and 10 p.m. 769-4010.




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