The corpse flower came back to Los Angeles to unleash its horrid stench on the masses. The abusive smell it emits resembles rotting flesh. This is to attract flies, on which it feeds. A phallic monstrosity over six feet tall, it blooms at random every few years and the olfactory nightmare only lasts a few days. One would think that people would want to avoid the stench, but not only do tens of thousands of people line up to catch a whiff, they pay $20 for it. It seems a high price to pay for torturing themselves, but look what Angelenos dish out for rib removal and personal trainers.
Not that I'm one to talk. I myself dashed to Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, where the corpse flower lives. Huntington Gardens enjoyed a media frenzy over the event, and when I arrived, the parking lot was full and crowds were everywhere. There was a ten minute line just to pass by it. The plant is affectionately named "Stinky" and children squealed with delight, full of the hope that they would be nauseated.
Only it didn't smell. Like, at all. Crowds hovered around, taking deep inhales as if in Ashtanga yoga class. They waved the air from the plant to their noses in a scooping motion, but there was nothing. Though it took two weeks to rise and blossom, I arrived at day one of the slow descent. One would think there would be a lingering odor, but it was not so. People, some of whom had driven hundreds of miles to experience this tropical oddity raised a stink because the plant failed to. Huntington Gardens should publicize the daily stink level before swiping $20 from guests. I would have been annoyed, but I got in free on a press pass and spent the rest of the afternoon strolling the gardens. The Japanese garden is magnificent, by the way.
It's fascinating to see people come from far and wide to expose themselves to something utterly unbearable, then grow angry over the fact that they couldn't be repulsed. People were excited to experience what is essentially self mutilation. But it explains a lot of things. It explains why tribal folk walk on hot coals and why Spencer and Heidi from The Hills have yet to fade into white trash oblivion.