Why do Parisian doors lock themselves?

Two events all Parisians dread: receiving a Registered Letter Return Receipt Requested, and locking themselves out of their apartments.

Registered letters are almost always the bearers of bad news: an eviction notice; a warning that wages are going to be docked; a bank account seized for non-payment of taxes; a summons to appear in court – or something else sure to be unwelcome and unpleasant.

In all the places I have lived in America, it was impossible to lock myself out because to lock the door required a key: you close the door and then you lock it. Any Parisian can tell you that as soon as you shut the door, ...

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