Dearest Jeff Bezos,
You’re probably feeling a little bit like the bachelor on the ABC hit TV show “The Bachelor” right now. You’ve made it known that you’re looking for a commitment, and that’s not something that we cities can just let go. I don’t know how it feels having everyone pine for your attention, but that’s because I’m an undiscovered gem. I can only empathize with the exhaustion you must be feeling having every single major city in America open up about the future they see with you, how excited they are that you’re ready to settle down with someone new, how many buildings they envision you two having together and the places you’ll be able to travel to. I’m sure they’re all starting to blur together.
Jeff, I’m here to tell you that I’m different.
My name is Providence, Rhode Island. I’m usually seen as a quirky and hipster city. Kind of like New Orleans, except New Orleans decided it was too good for you and didn’t even offer you a bid. Jeff, you deserve to be with someone who wants you. I even have my very own major airport. It’s called T.F. Green and it’s spectacular. That’s right. I’m worldly, international even, with $99 flights to Iceland via Norwegian Air. All of your friends can come visit!
Did you know that Rhode Island is the Ocean State? And yes, okay, I understand that Seattle is coastal and that the Pacific Ocean is pretty damn nice, but wouldn’t you also want to be with me, where the temperature changes? I mean really changes — in the winter it’s about 28 degrees Fahrenheit and in the summer, it can get all the way up to 86 degrees!
I know you’re all about innovation and development. You run a dynamic company, and you don’t want to stand still. I get that. That’s why every week, I unleash a different form of weather on everyone here. Two weeks ago, everyone was in shorts; last week, I made everyone break out their winter jackets. Oh yeah — and I surprised everyone with bursts of rain. I like to try new things and implement different strategies, just like you.
I know that I might not be exactly what you’re looking for, and though that’s disappointing for me, I actually have a lot of siblings who also happen to be looking for a nice guy like you to settle down with! They include Pawtucket and Warwick. We offer a lot of the same benefits, actually, including pre-permitted sites and access to major interstates and ports. We really just want you to be a member of our Rhode Island family. That’s why I won’t be completely bummed if you go for one of them over me. I know you value culture and teamwork very much, and my family does as well. We all live very close together — none of us are more than an hour away from each other — and that empowers us to work collaboratively together.
I’m not trying to give you special favors to earn your trust, like Tucson who sent you a 21-foot Saguaro cactus which you had to send back home. I won’t demand that you pay for dinner on our dates — I have a very reasonable cost of living. Nor am I making promotional videos for myself, like Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh and all the rest. Instead, I made myself an entire website!
I also have a lot of friends who are looking forward to getting to know you as well. As you might know, over one-sixth of Brown undergraduates are computer science majors. It’s no coincidence that recruiting season is upon us, Jeff, and if you and I got together, there’s no doubt in my mind that as soon as those students pass through the Van Wickle gates, they’ll walk right down College Hill and through the doors of your second headquarters.
Alright, I might be getting ahead of myself. When I like someone — and believe me Jeffrey, I like you — I have the tendency to dream about our future together and what our lives will be like. I don’t mean to scare you — of course there’s no pressure to choose me — but my family is so small that we don’t get a lot of attention. When you put your call out, we didn’t hesitate to respond, unlike San Antonio, who didn’t appreciate your initiative. There’s no doubt I’m ready for the long haul, and I’m ready for it with you.
With great warmth and humility,
Providence, Rhode Island
Lena Renshaw ’20 is not actually the city of Providence and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send responses to this opinion to email@example.com and other op-eds to firstname.lastname@example.org.