It takes a certain amount of desperation to ask a prostitute for directions while she’s on her street corner.  A level of desperation that hopefully none of you have experienced outside of me.  The first time (yes, it’s been more than once), I was in France on a senior trip. There were 4 or 5 of us girls- we’d had a night out at some fancy dinner or something- and got lost on the way back to our hotel.  We’d been walking awhile, as I recall (some of you’s girls are reading this right now and can fill in more details), and our hotel was across a major highway with no bridge or anything to get across to it.  Lacking the ability to speak French, the only, I mean only, person we could find to ask was a pretty French girl, who obviously could have been doing much better with her life, who was standing on the corner in fishnets, a really really mini skirt, and stillettos. I think we made her angry.  She ignored us as a car drove by that shouted something to her and she yelled back with an added rude gesture.  We ended up stopping a cab–who refused to take us there because he said it was too close–but led us to a bridge or something anyway.

The second time I nearly asked a prostitute for directions was last week.  You’ll soon find out why it was nearly.  I should probably include here that I have gotten lost nearly everytime I venture out into the city.  Yes, I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad sense of direction.  But it’s not entirely my fault.  The city of Chicago expects everyone to have lived here a long time and just know intuitively where they are going.  Therefore, street labeling is optional.  And they change the name of the street however often they please so it doesn’t really matter if you know the street name anyway, you need to intuitively know what it will morph into in another block. Also, mean people who like to cut you off live in cities.  Also, all streets are one-way, so if you miss your street, you’ll have to drive around in a square for another hour.  Anyway, on this particular sunny, prostitute-inhabited day, I was driving home from church when the silly city decided not to label which direction the highway I was supposed to take would go, and I got stuck on a tollroad that I had to pay 3 stupid bucks for.  Though I didn’t know it, I drove to the complete opposite side of the city, and eventually found a street name that I knew led to my house.  But, oh, the friendly little street that I knew had transformed into evil, I-don’t-want-to-be-here, lock-my-doors street.  At a stop light, a couple of drunks stumbled into the front of my car.  That was my first freakout.  The second was when a bus suddenly had a bright idea to flatten my car, pulled out into the street, heard me honk, and ignored me while I nearly had to drive into oncoming traffic.  I wasn’t even completely sure the road wouldn’t run out and not take me where I thought I was going, so I rolled down my window to ask for directions from a woman with her turned away from me on the street.  She had just come out of a building and appeared to be straightening her shirt.  My mouth was open to call, when she turned around and I could see she was a prostitute.  Still “straightening” her shirt, but a little stoned perhaps, didn’t quite recognize that her breast was popping out.  It was breast popping out that clued me in to her occupation and made me think that, you know, though she could have been a really nice prostitute, maybe this wasn’t the best time to ask for directions.  Just maybe.  I quietly rolled my window up, and we followed the street until it thankfully lead us home.

What does all of this have to do with low tech/high tech as the title suggests?  Well, I’m afrad to admit that I’ve judge the GPS people in all my natural hippieness.  I thought they were gadget-obsessed techies who were looking for the latest computer whatever thingy.  I mean, why not just look at a map or, at the worst, on the internet for directions?  After my last little lost escapade, my mind wandered back to my parents’ visit a few weeks ago.  My dad had a GPS, I was snooty toward it at first, but then…it told us where to go like magic.  Took a wrong turn?  No problem.  Recomputing… Need to look up a place nearby? Come, peruse my pre-loaded annals of destinations.  Need to know where the closest gas station is?  Sure, I’ll tell you, Lauren.  Because I’m your best friend. I was hooked on its helpfulness.  After I explained my last lost story to them, my parents agreed to get my a GPS for an early birthday present.  And life, my friends, has been right on course, so to speak, since.  Driving-wise, anyway.

All of this to say, I’m sorry I judged you, high tech GPS people.