Have you ever seen “Kill Bill”? It’s a spectacular film (and set, actually), and I fell in love with it when I was around the time of middle school. My eldest brother was in college, and he had me watch it with him one time. I was enthralled. I couldn’t tell if I actually wanted to be like Uma Thurman in the film, or if I just liked marveling at her humbly.
It ended up being one of the few pieces of Japanese culture that has stuck with me (before I moved to Japan, that is). Not that the film is Japanese itself – it just has Japanese things in it, specifically a samurai-like relationship to swordsmanship and fighting. Quentin Tarantino was the first director whose name I remembered, as well as the first whose style I learned to identify. I’m not sure I would have been a fan had I not seen Kill Bill as my first full exposure to him and his style. However, I absolutely love his directing, and therefore end up loving movies that otherwise make little sense at my being a fan of them (blood and gore and anger are really not my thing).
All of this aside, however, something from the Kill Bill films stuck with me even stronger than anything else. The scene where the money briefcase is opened, revealing loads of cash, and then, suddenly, as a chunk of cash is removed, a poisonous snake shoots out and bites the man who opened the case, killing him. It is such a sudden event, and it includes such a confirmation of the guy’s mortality, that it hit me hard. While I mentally am totally comfortable with the scene, I suppose there is a sort of psychological response that I had not anticipated would last for so long as it has: I don’t stand in front of the mailbox to open it. I stand to one side, and open the box. Then, I lean over to see inside the box, still at an angle to it. Once I have verified the absence of any snake, I then reach in and pull out the mail.
This was an immediate response to having seen this scene. It was intentionally done, each time I went to check the mail. Now, more than 15 years later, I still do it. I kind of chuckled at myself today, as I noticed that I was doing it, completely unaware of what I was in the process of doing – avoiding a snake attack. I mean, seriously, a snake in my mailbox? Possible, but insanely unlikely.
Like I mentioned, it might be something psychological deep down… but it also could be just that I grew so accustomed to doing it intentionally, that I ended up sticking with it unintentionally, even after the snake idea was long out of my mind. I find the latter to be more likely than anything else.
But I could just be crazy. That would explain a lot, I imagine. 😛