Ultimate Relationship Goals For Valentine's Day: Leslie Knope And Ben Wyatt

Ultimate Relationship Goals For Valentine's Day: Leslie Knope And Ben Wyatt

​"Who's to say what works? You find somebody you like and you roll the dice. That's all anybody can do."
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As Valentine's Day approaches, and as I binge-watch "Parks and Recreation" for the third time with my boyfriend, I have perpetual heart-eyes over the greatest couple to ever grace television: Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. Don't believe me? Here are 11 reasons why everyone should want to be them.

1. The magical evolution of their relationship.

Leslie starts out hating Ben. The insult-at-work-and-then-yell-at-at-a-bar kind of hatred. And let's face it, she has a reason - Ben represents the failure of Pawnee's government and the potential loss of her beloved department and dream park in Lot 48. But then you watch them work together on the Harvest Festival, come up with corny handshakes, and eventually have to go to great lengths to keep themselves from hooking up so as to not violate the rule that government employees and their supervisors can't be romantically involved.

But then this happens:

and your heart starts doing the can-can even though you knew they were going to get together.

2. They never let anything get in their way.

Strict policy against romantic involvement between employee and boss? Sure, that impedes Leslie and Ben and strains their friendship for a little bit, but I'm glad it does, because then we get gems like this one:

But ultimately, they decide being together and growing their love for each other is the best decision, and your heart can-cans some more.

The obstacles don't stop there. But an ethics trial? Having to be long distance when Ben takes a job in Washington? Everyday strain of government work and adult life? They got nothing on Ben and Leslie.

3. They make each other grow.

It doesn't matter whether or not they're together - Ben and Leslie force each other to confront their shortcomings and take steps to remedy them, but also realize that having flaws is not the end of the world.

Sometimes, Leslie needs to be pulled back for a moment to consider her actions instead of working purely on emotion. And sometimes, Ben has to be reminded that not everything needs to be analyzed and worried about and strategized. From Ben, Leslie learns to be more open-minded and to think about how she sometimes "steamrolls" her friends. And from Leslie, Ben learns the unique power of optimism and hope mixed with hard work, but also the importance of letting loose a little.

4. They both make sacrifices for each other.

Every couple has to compromise, and no one knows this better than the power couple that is Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. From Ben resigning in disgrace as assistant city manager to allow Leslie to keep her job as deputy director of the parks department, to Leslie being willing to put their life together on hold so Ben can advance his career in Florida, to having to decide which of them will run for governor, Ben and Leslie know that balance and compromise are key. Their relationship may give them something extra to consider when taking a job or making a political move, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

5. Ben's proposal.


I'm going to admit, I cried the first time I watched this. And the second. And the third. Largely, because I'm much the same as Leslie in the sense that we both like to stop the world for a minute to cement a big moment in our memories, but also because Ben's proposal is the perfect representation of this couple's unbreakable bond that holds strong through any sacrifice. Instead of taking a job as a campaign manager in Florida, Ben decides to "think about his future" and chooses Leslie over the job. They don't know what the future holds. They don't know what jobs will pop up, or when, or where - what they do know is they want to be together, and nothing can stop that from happening.

6. The Box.

If Ben's proposal represents the power of their sacrifices, the small wooden box they constantly exchange is the physical symbol of their compromise.

We first see it when Ben figures out Leslie is running for a spot on the City Council and therefore has to break up with him to avoid a scandal, then again when Leslie changes her mind about making Ben stay in Pawnee and supporting his move to D.C., and finally when Ben proposes:

It's a lovely, powerful, happy-tear-inducing little detail that truly symbolizes Ben and Leslie's relationship and unwavering love and support for each other. It's a physical manifestation of their complete understanding of one another as passionate employees, lovers, and, above all, people.

7. Their spontaneous, perfect wedding.

Sure, it hit a few snags, like Ron punching Councilman Jam in the face and having to be bailed out of jail, but it ended up exactly where it was always meant to happen-inside the Parks and Recreation office, with the whole department, including beloved three-legged dog Champion cheering them on. Plus, their adorable vows cannot be beaten.


8. Their love is all-encompassing, but that doesn't mean other aspects of their lives fall to the wayside.

They don't even let their honeymoon bliss detract from the overarching goal of the entire series: putting a park in the empty lot behind Ann Perkins' house. Married life never holds them back from pursuing new opportunities. We've also all heard the thought that when people enter into a serious romantic relationship, they lose three friends. If this is even true at all, it definitely isn't for Ben and Leslie. They keep each other close and their friends even closer, because they know the importance of friendship and the truly special nature of their fellow Pawneeans.

9. They can handle anything life throws at them.

Even when this happens -

Ben and Leslie know they can take any and all of life's surprises, because they have each other.

10. "I love you and I like you."

One of my absolute favorite things about not only Leslie and Ben, but "Parks and Rec" in general: the distinction between "love" and "like." Love and lust alone cannot sustain a relationship for long; two people really have to like each other in order to keep working together and have a successful marriage. And if they feel both? That's when magic á la Leslie and Ben happens.

11. Their optimism.

The optimism of this couple can be summed up in everything I've already listed, but it's important enough to merit its own category. Ben and Leslie's relationship basically boils down to one phrase: "Everything will be okay." They love each other, they like each other, and they both have the drive and compassion to work through the situations when those things aren't quite enough. If any two people are "relationship goals," it's these two; they're both kind, successful people who randomly found each other and never left each other's side once they did. They push each other to be better while celebrating all the great things they already are, they give each other hope when one starts to stumble, and they are true life partners.

Cover Image Credit: Crushable

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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How The Democratic Party basically Handed Donald Trump The Presidency

The rise of Donald Trump was propelled in part by the far left's efforts to undermine him.

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Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 Presidential Election was a shock to many across the country, myself included. It seemed impossible that someone so unapologetically crass, rude, and idiotic could even hope to achieve the position of the most powerful person in the world (have I mentioned that he literally admitted to sexually assaulting women?). I mean sure, it certainly didn't help that Hillary Clinton was probably the worst candidate that the Democratic Party could have run against him... actually she was definitely the worst, but she still should have won. As she tries to explain in her new book, what happened?

In order for a bigoted, fear-mongering, and an arguably uneducated man like Donald Trump to become president, there needs to be a perfect storm. We've already established that Hillary was a bad candidate on the Democratic side, but none of the other Republican candidates were very good either. Their best guy other than Trump was Ted Cruz, a man who can be described as unsettling on his best days. There was also a large number of people that resonated with Trump. Granted, they were mostly uneducated, blue-collar, religious, second amendment nuts, but Trump's "forgotten man" schtick stuck with them, as these were people who felt like they were being left behind. I would argue that they were and should have been, but that's beside the point.

However, the one thing that I think influenced Donald Trump's meteoric rise to the presidency the most were the ridiculous ways that some of his opponents would try to undermine his legitimacy as a candidate. As someone who identifies as a Democrat myself (not as my gender, but as my political affiliation), I certainly was not a fan of Donald Trump. I think that his election has brought us one step closer to the dystopian future laid out in the cinematic masterpiece that is Idiocracy, but it's not like my party didn't have opportunities to bring him down a peg. It's also not like we didn't completely fail in doing so.

Every time Donald Trump would say something that could be construed as racist, xenophobic, or sexist, Democrats would pounce on it and use it as proof that he was all of these things. This is a good method, but many Democrats got too overzealous in using it, calling him these things even when what he said was probably not racist, or even not racist at all. The baseless attacks vastly outnumbered the legitimate ones, and Trump supporters used it as a way to rally around their guy and to validate the ideas of "fake news" and their "us against the world" mentality.

The day the Donald Trump won the election, in my opinion at least, was the day that Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters a "basket of deplorables." Are you kidding me?! You're going to take tens of millions of American voters, essentially call them racist, sexist idiots, and flat-out dismiss them? All she did was verify to the Trump supporter all the things that he already believed: that he was being disrespected, left behind, and forgotten about by the democratic party. Regardless, how do you think people are going to vote if you just insult their intelligence and character for months on end? That's not the way to build bridges; it only creates the divisiveness that Trump thrives in.

This is why people think of Democrats as elitist: because Democrats act really elitist. If you always act like you know better than everyone else and sit in your ivory tower expecting everyone to realize how stupid they are, you're not going to win elections. In fact, you'll do so bad in elections that you'll lose to an unqualified, idiotic, racist Cheeto that wears a toupee that looks like it was made from hairs scooped out of the bathroom sink. Anyway, that's why Trump won the election: because Hillary and the Democrats had their heads so far up their asses that they couldn't smell his spray tan coming.

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