Yesterday at 5:45 pm the power went off at my house.
The kids and I had just walked in the door - and the lights went out.
And the kids FREAKED OUT.
They didn't like the dark. They didn't like the fact that the TV wouldn't work. They didn't like the fact that the LIGHTS WOULD NOT COME ON.
They are used to flipping a switch, hitting a button, and pulling a cord to see an automatic change in their environment.
But yesterday afternoon threw them for a loop.
They tried to play using flashlights. They tried to take a bath in the candlelight. They tried to tell stories. They tried to sleep.
None of that worked.
Until eventually they fell apart. They whined. They cried. They gnashed teeth. They could not get over the fact that the power was out.
I did not know my kids could be so focused on LG&E and the service they provide until it wasn't working.
And the sad thing is that's how most of us think about all of infrastructure - including our roads, bridges, airports, rail lines, transit, and waterways.
We think it SHOULD JUST BE THERE. Operating. Without any additional investment or attention.
IT SHOULD JUST WORK - not because we've improved it over time, maintained it to a higher standard, or built additional capacity as we've needed it - but because it has been there since we've been around and it should just keep being there operating as good as - or better than - it has in the past.
We don't think about what would happen if a bridge was gone - unusable - and we couldn't replace it immediately. We don't think about what we'd do if I-75 or I-65 was closed due to a rockslide, washout, or some other catastrophe and we couldn't ever fix it.
We don't think about what would happen if a rail line or riverport just stopped operating and fell into an inoperable state. We don't think about what would happen if the airport runways weren't safe enough for the planes to land or take off. We don't think about what would happen if all the transit buses fell into such a state of disrepair that they just stopped running.
We just think that it all SHOULD JUST WORK because IT ALWAYS HAS in the past.
But if we don't invest in our transportation infrastructure and maintain it, improve it, and make it better for tomorrow it won't work in the future.
And unfortunately the impact of not making these investments in our transportation infrastructure now will be far greater than missing an episode Power Rangers because the power went out.