An Ode to the Turkey Dump
When I first talked to the Swoon Blog leaders (The people who organize and post to this blog daily! Quick round of applause and thanks for them!) about writing a Thanksgiving post, the first thing I thought of was the “Turkey Dump,” you know, that time-honored tradition when college kids come home for Thanksgiving and dump their high school boyfriends and girlfriends. I know what you are thinking…How romantic! Yes, okay, this is kind of a downer, but let’s really think here, turkey dumping isn’t really just about dumping someone you said 2 months ago you would love forever. It’s about people growing up quickly, and about how those relationships need to grow up and change as well.
For this post, I looked and looked for a book that dealt with one or both of the characters leaving and coming back and having to deal with how that changes their relationship, but I had a hard time finding one. Probably the new “New Adult” genre will have quite a few instances of this, but maybe books don’t talk about it that often because it’s too real.
And maybe that theory holds water! It’s just too real! I can’t believe I’m about to say this (on the other hand, I can, because I love this show from head to toe), but I’m about to talk about the show that changed the landscape of reality television as we know it, and the “realest” show I know: Laguna Beach.
You guys, I loved (and still love) Laguna Beach. I loved Lauren Conrad (or L.C., as her friends called her) and Lo’s best friendship, I loved the stupid trips to Cabo and the drama over prom dresses, and I loved how there was no relationship drama that couldn’t be solved over spaghetti at Pasta Pomodoro. But most of all… and this is a little embarrassing… I loved Kristin Cavallari. She was just so cool. She walked the streets of Laguna Beach with a posse like she was Adrian Grenier on Entourage. She wore a white dress to a black & white party when everyone else wore black. She dated Stephen Colletti even though Lauren Conrad (the protagonist!) ALSO wanted to date him. She has what is seemingly the most romantic relationship on the entire show: “I want to take a picture of your eyes and tape them to my forehead, so when I’m gone you’re always right in front of me”… And then she breaks up with him when he goes away to college.
I know, I know, I know. Laguna Beach isn’t REAL. And okay, maybe it wasn’t the most factually accurate piece of documentary content in the world, but going straight from season one’s Kristin&Stephen to season two’s Kristin and Stephen felt so incredibly truthful. I’ve seen it happen a million times in real life. I think I admired her so much as a teenager because Kristin wasn’t afraid to change, she wasn’t afraid to change her mind, and she wasn’t afraid to break up with things she had outgrown.
It’s easy to break up with someone because “long distance is too hard” or because “I changed in college” but rather than these things always being excuses, a lot of times they are excuses because they are true. When you leave somewhere, that place continues to move along without you. It was a hard concept for me to grasp, how yogurt shops could spring up down the street from where I used to live without me knowing about them, but what was even harder was when I came home one summer and my mom, who used to have trouble operating the computer without my help, was suddenly on her iPhone, texting away, doing things I hadn’t taught her. And, I mean, sure. People move along without you too. You know that, but you don’t grasp it until you see it. And sometimes the realest (and most romantic) thing to do is to acknowledge that and breakup. Sometimes on Thanksgiving.
There are a couple of commonalities among a lot of people that I work with in publishing: 1. we love books, 2. we love tea and cats, and 3. we all live in the greatest city in the world, NYC, which, because not many of us are New York natives, usually means that we are experts at leaving. We don’t always think about it that way, because we moved to a new place, we have new lives and friends and jobs, but the flip side of that means that there is something that we left, people that we left, and places that we left. So let’s be honest, we’re “turkey dumping” all the time.
I’m not going home for Thanksgiving this year (my home is too far away), but I am going home over Christmas, and when I am there I will go through things in closets that I should have thrown away ages ago, I will purposefully decide which of my friends I want to meet up with, and I will go full on Kristin Cavallari my past life and break up with things that I have outgrown. Because, well, I like to pretend that I am the YA protagonist of my own life, and growth is what we do.