I want to first begin by making it clear that I'm not a booze expert. Nor am I a wine connoisseur. This column, therefore, will not provide you with facts that can make you sound impressive and learned. No, there will be none of that. What I want to do instead is use this space to discuss what fascinates me more than anything else: human beings. Dogs bark, cats search for the most perfect spot to do nothing, squirrels dig and dig, crows look at you funny, seagulls swallow funny—in short, all the other animals bore me to tears.

But humans are endlessly entertaining and fascinating. They have big brains and all kinds of unexpected things come out of their mouths, especially when they are drinking. And this is the point: I don't go to bars for the booze but for the people. One can drink alone at home, but that is always sad and even unproductive. You don't learn anything from being by yourself. Drinking is always best when it's social. In a word, I want the reader to consider this column as my small contribution to anthropology, the study of humans and their behavior.

With the remaining space of this column, let me tell you about my recent visit to a relatively new and lovely bar on Beacon Hill called the Oak—it's run by the people behind Redwood on Capitol Hill. I had drinks during this visit: a glass of white wine by Corfini Cellars ($6), a Seattle-based wine distribution company, and a cocktail called Booch Smooch ($7), which contains kombucha tea, cranberry juice, and vodka made by Sun Liquor.

What were these drinks like? I can't really tell you, because each time I tried to think about the badness or goodness of the wine or to determine if the exotic cocktail was a success or not, a woman sitting with her friends at a table behind me would burst into the loudest and sharpest peals of laughter. Her laughter shattered any thought in my head into a thousand pieces and made me painfully aware of the fragility of my eardrums. When she wasn't laughing, the eardrums were doing their business out of my mind's sight; when she laughed, I could almost see them vibrating violently in the depths of my ear. Here is my question: Is there anything in life that's really that funny? It's just not possible. Humans are funny for sure, but not that funny. In any case, loud laughter is not good for the mind, ears, and soul. It also makes you sound crazy. recommended