In any case, they say everyone has a twin out there somewhere, and mine is apparently still making coffee. I first began to hear rumors of his existence when I worked in a small local town called Chatham; there was a Starbucks there at the time, and people began to ask me whether I was picking up extra shifts and whether I would have gotten in trouble for waving back at them in the morning. One day, the local newspaper ran a photo from that Starbucks location, and I had to admit it was a pretty good likeness. Eventually, I left Chatham, and Starbucks closed that location down, and I forgot all about the whole thing until Thursday.
I was standing next to the IGOLD parade chatting with my highly-pregnant little sister, who was working in a bank branch along the route when we passed by. As we finished our conversation, I noticed a pretty young lady who was not moving along with the parade but watching us, and when I left, she followed. I've learned over the years that a lot of people who look hesitant or seem to be following someone at these events are trying to figure out how to approach and ask a question without feeling silly, so I stopped and introduced myself. She'd seen us go by and called her husband; he supports right-to-carry, but is traveling in Idaho this week, and he had asked her to sign our petition for him.
Unfortunately, we weren't circulating a petition that day, and she didn't have time to go into the Capitol, but I did find an extra registration packet so that she could fill out and mail the comment cards to their legislators and sign him up for IllinoisCarry.com. I thanked her for all the trouble she'd gone to, she thanked me for putting on IGOLD*, and we were ready to part ways when she blurted out:
"I just want you to know, this means you are officially my favorite barista!"Is "barista" even a masculine noun? It sounds vaguely latin and firmly feminine to me, but I know Starbucks likes to make new words sometimes when they can't remember the old ones, the way I buy new wire strippers every once in awhile rather than try to find the old ones. Anyway, wherever you are out there, my handsome coffee-brewing friend, here's to you.
*"Well," he replied modestly, "others helped."