Dear New York,

A good friend is someone you can learn from. Someone who gently leads you down the right path when you are headed in the wrong direction. You don’t have many good friends, New York. That is a crying shame. But not to worry, that is all about to change. There is someone I’d like you to meet.

Last weekend I spent some time with Virginia and discovered that she is a very good friend. Seriously, you could not want for a finer friend. New York, please take note of the personality traits possessed by Virginia, unpossessed by you, which you should immediately put into action. Think of Virginia as an older sibling (which, technically, she is anyway) and consider looking up to her in regard to the following:

1. Sunshine: New York, I know you do the best you can, but in this category your best really isn’t good enough. In fact, a fellow western NY friend just came back from a doctor’s appointment and found out she has a vitamin D deficiency. Do you know why? It’s because you channel Antarctica in mid-winter. This is not a good decision. A location where the sun does not rise for weeks at a time is not a good role model, and I really think it’s time you give Virginia a call and see if she can hook you up with the sun, since apparently they are BFF. It’s time to start hanging out with a new crowd, New York.

2. Speaking of a new crowd, you could stand to make some new friends. Sheetz, Chick-Fil-A, and Dairy Queen among them. Until your citizens can order lunch while pumping gas, consume an extra large peach milkshake beside a cutout of a cow, or get a second Blizzard (this does not refer to snow…we are all set in that department, thank you) for 25 cents, they will be pining for Virginia, where they can do all of those things within 10 minutes in a 2 mile radius. One friend you should never, ever part with: Wegmans. Excellent choice there.

3. Accent: Clearly in certain regions you offer a stronger defining tone than others, but the only speech mark of a true Western New Yorker is a slightly nasalized “a” sound. In Virginia, people speak with the perfect amount of drawl. Not so much that you feel out of place, but just enough to know that a healthy dose of southern comfort is headed your way.

4. Location: It’s cool that you are so close to Niagara Falls and Canada on one side and New England on the other, but Virginia has proximity to the Capitol. And the beach. And several southern states that are even warmer. And you really can’t trump that triple threat.

5. Cost: Specifically, the cost of gas. If Virginia can make do with 20 cents less per gallon, you can too. Let’s make that happen.

New York, truth be told, I love you dearly. You brought me up with a firm hand: snow in October and April, outrageous taxation, the ability to drive in any and every weather condition, and a sincere appreciation for our two weeks of spring. I am better for it, and I am grateful for all of the many enriching attributes you possess. However, I think you’d enjoy getting to know Virginia, and if she rubs off on you a little bit, I don’t think we’d be any worse for the wear. Just the opposite, in fact.

So hop to it! I’ll be anxiously awaiting the fruits of this friendship to blossom. Anxiously awaiting.

Love/Hate,

Your loyal(ish) citizen

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