The only things less fruitful than hookup culture at Occidental are campus smoothies. Green Bean or Cooler, smoothies here come from a box and have less produce than a Double-Double (even if it’s Protein Style). If you want a good, real smoothie — green apple and kale, cocoa powder and peanut butter, anything with frozen mango — you have to make it yourself. But, of course, there is a catch. Behind every good smoothie is a dirty blender.
In efforts to be more “adult,” I’ve been flossing, trying to wear underwear and cleaning my blender right after I transfer my smoothie to my Dunkin’ Donuts cup. As it would appear, it took me 21 years to learn that when the extra smoothie is still wet it only takes three seconds and minimal physical labor to clean a blender. When I’m lazy, when I don’t want to deal with it, when I’ll “get around to it later,” it takes seventy hours and a jackhammer to crack the dried Gorilla Glue of old pulp off of the glass. It’s pretty simple: if I wash out the residue before it solidifies, I save myself a lot of time and energy.
Like the remaining goop on the sides of a blender, a hard conversation gets harder the longer you wait to deal with it. If we clean the blender immediately, we hardly scrub. When we address problems in a timely manner, they are infinitely easier to handle. If we can deal with our feelings, our fears, our vices, our whatevers right now, before they get worse, bigger, scarier, harder, we can stop wasting our lives fixing these things that have become so huge and start embracing what the present has to offer us.
Washing the blender immediately is telling the friend who’s into you that you’re not into them right when you start getting “I like you” vibes. It’s breaking up with a partner when you realize they don’t make you happy. It’s confessing to your roommate that you don’t like their “Serengeti Sunset”-scented candles when they light them, getting rid of your high school clothes when they start getting tight or filling in your family of scientists that you’re majoring in Critical Theory and Social Justice the week you declare.
Putting off washing the blender (and then eventually needing to use power tools to clean it) is your friend dropping the “love” bomb before you admit you don’t like them, then everything getting weird and the friendship ending. It’s cheating on your partner, catalyzing a drawn out and tearful breakup including them burning your picture and driving past your house blaring angry music. It’s your whole room smelling like grandma swimming lessons and sleeping in the common room, your pants busting at the seams in the middle of the quad.
Waiting to reject someone, ask someone out, apologize to someone, accept your bodily changes, admit you hate someone’s candles, declare your major or whatever else is hanging over your head, keeps you from doing you. It consumes your mind and totally inhibits you from living the best life you could be living here and now (not to mention interpersonal procrastination keeps the other party strung along and disillusioned by your inability to “human up” and deal with it).
Sure, it seems easy to deal with it later, to put the blender in the sink to “soak” (aka if I leave it long enough, maybe my roommate will deal with it). And sure, it will save you those 30 seconds immediately after making your chilled concoction. Yet the time will come when you want a fresh smoothie. You want a less smelly room. You want your friend to stop sending “I LOVE YOU” drunk texts, to have sex with someone who’s not your partner, to talk school with your family, to feel good in your clothes — and you’ll have to painstakingly scrape off the dried fruit from the last smoothie for 70 hours before you embark on your next delicious frosty endeavor.
Dried smoothie is a big blowout fight. It is resentment, isolation, cheating, self-loathing, contempt, unrequited love, passive aggression, active aggression and icky feelings in your stomach. When we just get it over with, we can move on to better things. When we clean the blender right away, we are setting ourselves up for better smoothies to come.
Of course, if you’re on an island and you’re making piña coladas whilst dancing with sexy cabana workers, by all means, leave the blender. Don’t tell the workers you’re deathly allergic to coconut. Maybe a night in a Thai hospital with an IV sticking out of your arm is worth it. Maybe your head is as hard as dried fruit pulp and nothing will get you out of your own way.
All I know is, if my blender’s clean, each smoothie will be better than the last.