Help, Finally: How a Pop-Up Can Solve the Problem of Phone Service Collapsing

A cell phone tower Getty Images

There are a lot of pop-up stores in the Hamptons. They pop up in our downtowns in July, then, like The Lone Ranger, ride off into the sunset in September.

We never used to have pop-ups. In my day, we had mom and pop stores. You could go to a mom-and-pop and buy popcorn and a Nehi soda pop. But those soda pop, popcorn-popping mom and pops are now all gone.

Tesla, the automaker, had a pop-up on Newtown Lane for a couple of summers. You could put your money down. There was a long wait for a car. Then you would come back in October and they’d have skedaddled. It was very easy to do. They had everything they needed right there.

They’d just pack everything up—the cardboard picture of the car, the pretty young people, the video screen and computer, the swatches of the different kinds of upholstery—and, like Hopalong Cassidy, ride off into the sunset in their just-for-a-test-drive, not-for-sale Tesla and leave you looking at the skidmarks and tire tracks, holding the bag and shouting, “Where’s my Tesla?

Okay, I made all that up. They do make a great car.

But I think there is room for the summer for a pop-up. It involves cellphone towers.

Every Friday about noon here in the Hamptons, the Wi-Fi service slows down and the cellphone signal goes busy. You can’t make a call until midnight. It’s people from the city, in that long line of cars going stop and go on the Montauk Highway, all very excited about getting out here. They whip out their cellphones.

“Well, we made it!” they say to somebody they know. “We’re in the Hamptons!”

Truth is, everyone in the Hamptons is in favor of having more cellphone towers to solve this problem, but not where they blocks their view. Verizon wants to build a hundred-foot tower in the woods. People living in the woods yell, “stop.”

AT&T wants to put a cellphone tower inside a church steeple. That isn’t acceptable either. Even though people wouldn’t see it, they’d know that the cellphone towers were up there and could interfere with the communications between the congregation and the Lord. Put it inside some other church’s steeple.

The solution here is obvious. Build the telephone towers as pop-ups. Dig a hole a hundred feet into the ground. Drop into this hole a hundred-foot cell tower. At noon on Fridays three months a year, have a horn issue three honks to alert people to back away, then press a button and have an underground jack push up the tower until, with a pop, it snaps into place. Then leave it up there until midnight to handle the overloaded cellphone service, after which it issues more honks and drops back down.

And you know what? The people living nearby will still object to it. They’ll know that the tower’s there, even though for 156 hours of every 168 hours a week it won’t be visible, and this for only two months a year. By the way, nobody calls when they are leaving.

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