The Pucker Gave Me Away

What happens when our mouth says it all, without saying a word?

Photo by Ana Segota via  Pixabay

Photo by Ana Segota via Pixabay


I love green juice. I’ve been drinking it since the days when something green in a glass would be greeted by others with a combination of disgust and raised eyebrows.

It’s amusing to me that today, the same juice is touted as an elixir by many and the rest think we green-juice-lovers are slaves to the latest trend.

But no. Not I. Ever-faithful for decade after decade, I have had my share of countless varieties of green juice. It wasn’t always so easy to get, but now, I can get my green juice where I teach several times a week, along with a company discount.

Which tastes even better.

It’s become a routine that after class I’ll go upstairs and order a green juice blend including apple, lemon and ginger before leaving for the day. Usually, the same person makes my juice and we always chat. She knows what I’ll order as soon as she sees me step up to the counter. The only thing is, over the past several months, she’s gotten creative (or distracted?) and the juice she’s making has a lot more lemon in it.

Typically, I don’t take my first sip until I’m walking out the door and it seems awkward to go back and ask her to remake the juice. In anticipation, I’ve started to ask her to dial down the lemon and put in half an apple or cucumber. This strategy works well…

…unless I forget to say something.

So last week, it wasn’t until I had walked out the door and up Broadway that I realized she had done it again: this juice had real pucker power.

I figured since lemon is cleansing and good for us in so many ways, I could make the best of it. I proceeded to the train and took the subway to my next location, sipping as I went. For the first time in a while, I wasn’t rushing around and felt rather relaxed as I continued on my journey.

On the shuttle train to Grand Central, there was a duo playing music. I sat there, sipping my drink and enjoying the tune. When we arrived at Grand Central, the doors opened and I walked out of the train. Walking alongside me, a woman who had been riding in the same car asked me, “Is it really that bad?” It took me a moment to realize that she was referring to the juice. Apparently every time I had taken a sip, my face flinched because it was so tart from the lemon!

I laughed out loud at my face betraying me. This was no micro expression giveaway: I was giving my fellow subway-riders a full-blown, Emoji-scale pucker.

We shared the laugh and I assured her that the juice was fine: it just had more zing than I would normally choose. I had to defend the concoction. After all, the public reputation of green juice was on the line.

More refreshing than the juice was the moment laughing with a fellow passenger. The experience brightened my day and reminded me of a few important things:

When you know what you want, ask for it.

We are more transparent than we think and when we think we’re invisible, we’re kidding ourselves.

Sharing a laugh with a stranger makes them less of a stranger.

More than anything, I’m just glad she spoke up. Had she not said something, I would never have known how I was coming across (or what I was telling the world about green juice) and neither one of us would have had the moment that put a smile on both our faces for the rest of the day.