Yisrael Rosenberg

Of Moose And Cellphones

“No Service.” “No Service.”

That’s what my cellphone kept telling me.

As I drove toward the lofty White Mountains of New Hampshire, the cellphone slipped into a coma. Sometimes, as I drove through a one-traffic light villages nestled in a valley next to the raging cold river tributaries, my phone would be resuscitated, a little indicator at the top of the screen flashing to show that even temporarily, I had network service.

As I began to climb the steep grade towards the Ravine Lodge where I would spend the night, I passed signs that warned of moose crossings for the next seven miles. While appearing quaint and rustic, these signs are deadly serious.

If you are moving along at 45 miles per hour and you happen to encounter a moose in the middle of the road, you and the moose are in trouble. Moose are not very intelligent – they don’t know to move out of the way. And they are so tall, if you hit one, you will all too quickly discover that your car has knocked him off of his feet and his full, crushing weight drops squarely onto car, making navigation and survival (his and yours) somewhat difficult. So when you see moose signs in New Hampshire, you slow way down.

But what would happen if I really did smash into one of those giant, lumbering critters? I couldn’t even call for help! As I approached the Ravine Lodge, the phone went into full communications breakdown. Heck, I would be lucky if there were electricity in the solid, naked wooden cabins where we were staying.

How was I going to tweet, assuming I had something to say? And when would I get to read Ha’Aretz, and become all worked up about what was going back home in Israel? Plus – if there was no cellular reception, I could dream on about connecting to the Internet by Wi-Fi. (In these parts, it so scarce it is called “Why-Fi-Not”).

Anyway, all this brings me to feelings of tremendous gratitude. In my little homeland, tucked deep in the geographical recesses of the wide Middle East, we never even worry about cellphone coverage. There is almost no place in the New-Jersey-size State of Israel that is not covered by all major cellular networks.

The reason is simple: when the networks were first established, the cellular companies instituted coverage for the most heavily-traveled areas of the country. But once people began to use the networks, they quickly found that there were numerous holes in the net. So they kicked, screamed and jumped up and down until nearly every square centimeter, above and below ground, was given full access to the cellular networks.

Israelis don’t mess around, and they don’t like be messed around with.

So by the time you read this, the info might be a little stale. I will have to wait until I get to my college town, where I will be attending my 30th college reunion, before I can jump onto the University Wi-Fi network and push fresh content to my blog page.

I’m fed up with with the primitive, low-tech culture one finds today in backwater communities like this one here in New England. I guess I’m just spoiled. I’ll take my cellular, Gigabit-linked society in Israel any day.

Meanwhile, I’m on the lookout for moose in my path. Because if I happen to hit one – I’m on my own.

About the Author
Yisrael Rosenberg is a former New Englander who made aliyah 30 years ago. He lives with his wife and four children in Jerusalem.