08 January 2009

Vol. 0, Issue 7 | Chasing Susan Ralston

[originally written 08 June 2004, 10:08pm]

Been meaning to post this, and other related thoughts, for awhile now. The realization came from a conversation I had with Aimee about the craptastic landscape of my failed relationships. I'm chasing Susan Ralston. The one woman I had my ideal date with, and nothing else. For the past month now, I feel as though I've been channeling Rob Gordon.

Sidebar: Every time I mention Rob Gordon to someone who knows who that is, I'm immediately ask for my Top Five list of something-or-other. I don't bloody care. That wasn't, to me, the core of the film (or the book), merely the easiest bit of trivia most associate with it. Dunno. Sorry. Where was I? Susan. Right...

You know, it'd be just my luck that she has her own LJ and stumbles across this. No, really. Wouldn't surprise me in the least. Well, maybe just a tad. Anyway...

My previous post, the "I Miss You" one, the parts of Susan that I've idealized in my memory, that's what I now attribute to the woman of that post. I'm expecting to find all of that in... someone. I search for her absentmindedly, haphazardly. I scour the 'Net, in services, chatrooms, message boards, Hell... here. I never find her. I think sometimes I have. But I convince myself that I'm wrong.

Hurm. Maybe I should explain Susan some more. That might be good. I met Susan when I hosted my own art show back in my hometown. Following a weekend trip to Portland, I connived and convinced my other artistic friend to throw in their lot with me, and we hosted a two week show featuring all of our artwork. We even had a live band. On the opening day, one of the people walking around was Susan. She was immediately intriguing since she wasn't family and I'd never previously seen her. Though I had a girlfriend (who was also present), I used my position as 'host' to strike up conversation with Susan.

Yes, yes. I already know. I'm a lecherous rake. Always have been. I can to this day, however, state that I have never strayed. Flirted? Yes. But never strayed.

Anyway, short of finding out that Susan was from a nearby town, and had been sent by the local community college art department, I really didn't learn anything about her. But I didn't forget her.

Up until I saw "Beetlejuice" and fell madly in love with Winona Ryder's 'Lydia Dietz', I had no idea that the spooky girl existed. She certainly didn't exist in my immediate surroundings. So I thought. Susan looked like a real life version of 'Lydia': Black hair in a shoulder-length A-line bob, alabaster skin, dark red lips, high cheekbones, wore black a lot. When I began classes at the college, she and I were in the same Intro to Drawing course. By this time, I was single, and certainly much bolder than I am now. Or was it that I was just too stupid. Six of one...

Eventually, I asked Susan out, and much to my surprise she said yes. She'd mentioned she liked Chinese food, so I made a homecooked Chinese dinner, which we took out for a picnic. In a cemetary, on a crisp September evening, under the light of the full moon. Her suggestion, after I asked her where she wanted to take the food.

Do you understand now? Do you see how I was doomed from the get-go?

After the dinner (which was rudely interrupted by armed policemen), we skulked about the town. Easy to do in a town that closes for business around 6pm. Followed by snuggling on my sofa while watching Clive Barker's "Nightbreed." A grand evening, complete with a lovely goodnight kiss. To date, I've yet to have any date go as well or be as memorable as that one, in over a decade.

Needless to say, I was more than slightly confused when Susan barely even spoke to me afterwards. It wasn't that she was actively dating anyone or everyone else. She and I had made a genuine connection with each other, and for whatever reason, she ran. Actually, I know the reason, and while relevant and understandable, doesn't change the outcome. I have been chasing that memory ever since.

I finally noticed it most recently making conversation with a woman on my bus route named Angel. It wasn't till a few days after that it dawned on me that she had more than a few similairities with Susan. As have many of the women I've been immediately attracted to. Not the ones I've dated, for some strange reason. Those I've had to warm up to. But the ones I see, whom I can see Susan in, I fall immediately for. Head over heels.

Here's the kicker. Having put all this on the table, so that it can glare back at me whenever I open LJ, what the Hell do I do with it? Am I attracted to this archetype because of Susan, or has my attraction grown past that? Or worse, is that one date with Susan the reason I still grasp on to the dream of finding the woman I posted about? The one who probably exists only in my mind? Or would I have been looking for and chasing after Susan even if she never existed?

To quote Rob Gordon: "Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or am I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

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