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Jupiter and Neptune reunion

I discovered his music in 1982. I was working for a local newspaper group in Orange County, and one day on my lunch hour I wandered into a record store (remember those?) and this delicious pop music was playing. I immediately asked the clerk what it was, bought the album, and fell deeply in love. For the next several years of my life – the pivotal, heartbreaking, occasionally thrilling years of my early twenties – that album was in constant rotation on the soundtrack of my life.

I last saw him play live in 1985. I have an indelible memory of my sister driving us to the show and of the precise place on the northbound 5 where she told me she was getting married. She and her husband have just celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary and have two sons who are taller than I am; it’s been awhile.

When I heard he’d be playing a solo gig just a few blocks from our house, I naturally bought tickets. I didn’t expect much; maybe just to hear a few old favorites. The place was packed with middle-aged ex-hipsters in funny hats. “God, look how old everyone is!” I remarked to my husband before remembering that I’m not so young myself, though of course whenever I hear this man’s music my mind tricks me into thinking I’m about 27 years younger. I’ve remained a fan over the years, but I haven’t followed his career closely. His music remained fossilized in the amber of my early 20s along with my weird 1980s haircuts and shoes.

So I was surprised, when he stepped out onto the stage, at how my heart leaped awake and gave a little cry of joy – it was like seeing an old boyfriend after many, many years and being happy that you’ve both moved on and done so well. And I was excited to find that I loved his new music as much as the old, that it was like getting a gift of new old favorites.

After the show my friend and I stopped by to have a CD autographed. Our old hero looked up at us and paused for a moment, Sharpie suspended in midair, and cocked his head. “Do I know you? You look familiar.” And of course when you’ve listened to someone’s music for more than half your life, part of you would not be at all surprised to find that they do know you, that somehow you’ve been humming along in the background of their life for years, just as they have been in yours. In fact, it’s always a bit of a shock when you meet famous people and they don’t know you.

The current conjunction of transiting Jupiter and Neptune in Aquarius – the sign that’s naturally connected with the 11th house, which my friend Neeti recently referred to as the house of tribe – is just inches from my natal South Node. Many astrologers identify the South Node as the repository of past life connections and memories. I don’t know whether I believe in past lives, but I believe in tribes, and that we know the members of our own the moment we set eyes on them; we hardly have to be introduced. I like to think that’s why Marshall Crenshaw recognized us – we’re from the same tribe of singers, guitar players, and word-mad songsmiths in jaunty hats.

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