Last week I got to visit my old friends in Louisville, Kentucky. A place I spent 5 impressionable years and was able to learn about myself and life in general. The trip was a blast, so much fun, ran into so many of my dear friends and drank a fair amount with all of them. Well except Dave, but he did share in the fun times. There were so many shared drinks, I made a joke that my friends were trying to kill me to prevent me from leaving Louisville. But then I thought back to what I read in Tom Standage's A History of the World in 6 Glasses, a great read if you're a fan of history and beverages. In the book he talks about how as early as 4,000 B.C.E. there was proof of people sharing large pottery jars of the first version of beer. So shared beverages have been a part of human nature since the beginning.
There's something about sitting at a table surrounded by people you care about sharing a drink, food, stories, opinions and laughs that brightens up your day. Sure some of that is the result of alcohol, but it's also our human nature to yearn for that connection with people. Think about when you go grab a drink by yourself, oh what? Am I the only one? If you're belly up at the bar, and someone is sitting in your vicinity, there is a good chance some words will be shared between you. It could be something as simple as commenting what is on the television, asking what they are drinking or even what the weather is like outside. And even if it's just for a second, a polite nod of the head or tip of the glass, you have made a connection, a shared moment, with that person. Something that has been embedded into our cultures from the beginning of civilization.
We share because we care, we drink because we enjoy the buzz. When you can combine the two, it's a blissful time. Think about bottle shares that are so popular now. People gathering in one location, bringing beers/wines/spirits they have been holding onto for the sole purpose of sharing it with others. These bottle shares sometimes lead to very long nights (I was once at a friend's house until 4am.) and at least a handful of good stories. The warming sensation we feel is partly due to the alcohol, but also because it feels good to connect to people.
Look at how popular Rosetta Stone is, or how there are now apps to help translate languages for us. All that effort now being put into finding ways to help us connect to each other. No matter how nice it is to have "alone time" everyone has a desire to share moments with other people. And it is real easy to do that when you have a drink in your hand. So next time you're enjoying a libation and see someone sitting alone next to you, just say "hello". Sure it's weird to talk to random strangers, but really, if you think about it, all you'll be doing is practicing one of the oldest forms of human connection; sharing a drink.