It's Odorific

It was a liberating type of  Bastille Day in Chico.  Nothing specific. Just feeling lighter, freer and back on my game.  Celebrated the day in small, non-verbal moments of appreciation and gratitude.

Tonight, after working out with my Wii (celebrating 12 weeks I might add) Don and I wanted to watch a movie.  I had recently purchased a DVD copy of one of my all-time favorite films: "Harold and Maude." I was surprised to learn that Don had never seen it.  Perhaps that was because it was released on his birthday, December 20, 1971,  only shortly after returning home from Viet Nam.

My roommate, Marti Ramirez introduced me to this film.  Marti raved about this film and it had already begun to develop a cult following (pre-"Rocky Horror" type of mania).  I went to see it at one of the artsy cinema houses in Los Angeles because I was finding it hard to believe it could be that terrific.

After the opening scene, I thought Marti must be nuts and I had just wasted my admission money. Yet, I was not the type who would walk out on a film.  After all, I too, was an actor and I had great respect for anyone who worked and earned their living at the craft of movie making.  I stayed.

I am so glad I did.
It was the start of a unique cinematic and musical love affair.  Not only did I love the quirky, eccentric black comedy that it was; I fell in love with the music of Cat Stevens and would be a forever fan through his spiritual renaissance up until his current artistry as Yusuf.

The movie is really a time-warp trip back to the seventies.  The clothing, the cars, the rotary dial phone.
Yet it is the quirky and wondrous performance of Ruth Gordon that seals the deal.  And until now, I had no idea how much of an influence the film had on me. Or was it just because I related to so much of it?

My passion for sunflowers and daisies; spontaneous outbursts of song and dance; irreverence for things usually considered somber or officious.  And then there is the understanding and fondness for odorifics.
I have always had a penchant for unique smells and fragrances with a deep passion and understanding of their power.  (I am convinced this is also why I so deeply understand cats and dogs so well because they too, live by their keen sense of smell).   And this was all before it became so popular and kitschy to use aromatherapy.

When I first saw the scene where Maude introduces Harold to the odorifics machine, I was elated that someone else understood; and I so wanted one of those machines.  After that scene, I was convinced that the movie was in Smell-O-Vision because I could smell the ginger pie and oat straw tea. I could smell the foggy air and the dust from the construction site; to the sterile smell of the hospital at the end.

Beyond the creative writing, directing and editing genius within the film (matched in a similar quirky artistic flair in Bob Clark's "A Christmas Story") is the love story this film tells. The story goes beyond age or reason and simply recounts an unusual love story between unlikely characters.  Rather than making me sad at the end, I celebrate the idea of life and I am buoyant about the idea of "loving some more."

I not only want to be like Maude when I grow but as I grow up.  Not being too careful, or attached or living in the past.  Being like a giant sunflower expressing abundant radiance; or the sweet daisy of joy. Loving people everywhere because after all, they are my species.


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