Michal sent me directions to her place in Portland today, hoping, she said, that they were less cryptic than the directions I had left her on a door in Paris once. I had almost forgotten about those directions.

I had gotten to this apartment in Paris, rented out by my host brother, a self-proported would-have-been count, had it not been for the revolution. Alas for him, the revolution took place, and the apartment was a miniscule trash bin. At least, the way he had left it when he vacated for Christmas — I cleaned the place, waiting for Michal, Tara and Ashleigh.

The next day I waited. I sent multiple e-mails to my visitors, in the event that they were lost but near a computer. To venture to the internet cafe safely, I made a notice stating where the key could be found, and stuck it on the door. Now, this area was not particularly steller, and most Parisians know at least a little English, so I used stealth in crafting this notice. I made it so cunning that no English-as-a-second-language-learner could comprehend it. I referred to the earth (the doormat) as “Gaia,” and the riddle for key was something like “Island off the coast of Florida plus an R&B singer.” I did not put the key under the doormat, mind you — I put the key to the mailbox under the doormat, and the key to the door in the mailbox. Actually, as I recall, there were three keys, since the door had three locks. This also was encoded.

Fortunately, my visitors never had to decipher this. I returned before they had found it, and eventually, they showed up and I let them in.

Now, on to Portland.

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