At The Stop Light
And it came to pass that yours truly was at a pedestrian crossing, waiting for the green light.
Two women stood near me. One with the habit of a nun, and a big wooden cross leaving no doubt – even in this country of many faiths and none – about her allegiance. The other of about the same age (Seventy, perhaps), and sporting the now rather usual “slob look”: trainers' trousers, t-shirt, and trainer shoes.
Being Italian, I am aesthetically minded, and could therefore not avoid noticing how the long habit of the nun gave her a so much better appearance than her friend's, whose several rolls of fat bobbed in slowly oscillating waves under the t-shirt at her every step as her rather massive backside transferred his considerable weight on either leg, and whose general appearance and demeanour was clearly, as already stated, the one of a slob.
“Look”, I thought, “how the traditional way of dressing gives the nun a graceful and gentle appearance her friend probably does not even see, or for which she does not care”. It was very clear, as I looked at them walking before me, that had the nun been dressed in the same way as her walking companion she would have had pretty much the same rolls of fat, and the same backside movements, on show, albeit probably slightly reduced. The wisdom of past times has seen to that, and has provided for a clothing style allowing an aged woman to appear graceful, and a rather gentle sight, even when time had worked on her female form.
Only later – I am rather slow at times – the thought occurred to me that the woman showing her bobbing rolls of fat and painfully oscillating buttocks for all London to see might, in fact, have been… a nun too. A nun without cross, without witness of her Christian faith – if any left -, and pretty much without a sense of propriety, visiting a friend of another (and more serious) order on a Sunday.
I will never know, of course, then even if the thought had occurred to me in time I am not yet so angered at the decay of Christianity that I would openly challenge an old woman on the street and ask her whether what she is carrying around in that fashion is the body of a nun, and whether she think this is the appropriate way of giving witness of the fact.
Still, allow me to express some sympathy for the old woman wearing her nun's habit and her big wooden cross; and going, I am confident, just as gracefully through life as she walked on the street of post-Christian London, on a sunny Sunday afternoon.