“With three kids under seven, you’ve got to be organized. On my desk I’ve got three folders: Little League schedules, Brownie meetings, nuclear-evacuation plans.
My little Westchester town is just down the road from the Indian Point nuclear power plant, a few miles as the crow flies (or as the fallout drifts, depending on which way the wind is blowing). Our school office is now equipped with a special radio that will give information in case of an emergency. If the sirens sound from the plant, the normal school day will continue but kids will kept inside with the windows closed. Well, it’s a plan.
Unless, of course, they’re evacuated. Buses from another school district where the drivers don’t even know my kids will supposedly pick them up and take them to the southeastern part of the county. Retrieving them might be a little inconvenient what with all the people fleeing and all.
And anyway, if the plant blows up or melts down, aren’t we all going to be running in place like Wile E. Coyote before a big boulder drops on his head?
Our county executive, Andy Spano, said we’ll soon be getting information about how to get potassium iodide, a drug to protect our thyroids from cancer caused by radiation. I started to wonder if my husband could get some from the New York Guard brigade he volunteers with. My mother wants to buy me an inflatable raft so we could escape by the Hudson River.
I was having a mom’s coffee klatch with my friend Sue Ellen. The usual topics: potty training, teething pains, emergency-nuclear-evacuation supplies. “Oh, we have all that stuff in our tool shed,” she told me. I was jealous. She has potassium iodide? AND a boat? I wondered if disaster struck today, should I go to her house? Does she have enough to share after taking care of her husband and three kids? Could we all fit in their boat? Should I bring cupcakes?
Turns out I misunderstood. She’s got the potassium, but no boat. Just as well. Another neighbor just assured me that if a meltdown occurs the Hudson would boil over from Albany to Manhattan. That made me feel better about not having a boat. But then he added: “Well, at least we’ve got Cipro.”
“Cipro, for meltdown?” I asked. He looked at me like I was just off the bus from Moronsville. “No, for anthrax!”
Man, everyone’s got something! All I’ve got is a crummy refrigerator magnet from the county, reminding me to “tune in to one of the local radio or TV stations if sirens are sounded.”
Then it hit me. This is all like some horrible futuristic scary movie. We shouldn’t be living like this. They should just close the damn thing down.
Now wait a minute, I know what you’re thinking: she must be some kind of granola-munching, sandal-wearing, Phil Donahue-loving, no-nukes-is-good-nukes panicky Naderite.
Nope. I don’t even like granola. I have not one item of clothing made out of hemp. I’ve never marched against anything in my life, and I don’t wear sandals.
My solid Republican credentials are impeccable. But the world has changed since September 11th and maybe we ought to let the vast left-wing conspiracy take a win on this one.
It’s the neighborly thing to do.
— Susan Konig, a journalist, has just written a book, Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (and other lies I tell my children).”
This article was originally published in National Review