“As Texas faced record-low temperatures this February and snow and ice made roads impassable, the state’s electric grid operator lost control of the power supply, leaving millions without access to electricity. As the blackouts extended from hours to days, top state lawmakers called for investigations into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and Texans demanded accountability for the disaster.” — The Texas Tribune, 2/16/21

- - -

I am American municipal, state, and federal infrastructure, and contrary to popular opinion, I’m not actually supposed to work.

First of all, I rarely get any credit on the rare occasion that I manage to eke out a day-to-day success. Used a road to drive to work yesterday? Made a call from your cellphone? Drank water with fluoride in it? That was all me, and yet no one’s walking around saying, “Man, what a great day American Infrastructure is having. Kudos to American Infrastructure for keeping it together.”

That’s because I’m not actually supposed to work, much less serve the public with their fundamental needs so they can continue to operate. It’s a common misconception, but the reason that Domino’s actually paved potholes instead of me is because I’m really just a fun word for when local governments want to pour your tax dollars into private companies.

I’ll let you in on a dirty secret: I’m not the last thing on everyone’s to-do list because I’m not sexy enough or it’s too hard to fundraise for me; it’s because I’m not actually supposed to do anything except make you wish you lived in a city that had bike lanes.

Think about it: America spends money on so much useless policy — billion-dollar airplanes that don’t fly or regulations about who can use which bathroom — don’t you think if I were supposed to work that I would? That something as essential as the water you drink, the electricity you use to heat your home, or the gas you use to cook would be reliable and safe?

Of course, I, as American Infrastructure, would work if I were supposed to because otherwise, that would imply that the people in charge just don’t care about the citizens they serve or even keeping their own constituents alive — and that would be absolutely terrifying, no?

That’s why it’s such a relief to tell you that it’s actually totally fine that I fall apart so frequently. I’m not supposed to actually work. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a new To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie out, and it’s not like I’m doing anything right now.