Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Cheer for the origami Christmas

Shark sits for many hours with origami. To me it's a peculiar hobby to enjoy, but hey, I tell myself it's not masterminding criminal enterprise, or dog fighting, or online gambling, or any other pointless and disagreeable activity she could fill her days with. Folding paper into strange shapes and declaring it a cricket seems as innocuous as you can get.

There's a simplicity about origami, too, isn't there? It doesn't need batteries, doesn't make noisy boom-boom-boom sounds and doesn't demand an entire month's salary to feed it. Yet you can still amuse yourself on long bus journeys, and without driving your neighbour into madness or despair. In fact, I'm now claiming that origami is social. Shark can twist your till receipt into a flying crane to amuse you, then she can provide you with a miniature lemur to slip into your pocket to take home.

Anyway, I bet she will drop origami one day, then I will feel nostalgic about it, so I'm holding on to the enjoyment of watching her now. In a few years some awful and adored teenager will sneer that it's a strange thing for a girl to spend time on, or claim is any accomplishment at all. Overnight the origami will vanish and I will be picking up yellow hair extensions from the floor, instead of the yellow folded paper some one tells me is called Derek the dinosaur.

Well, the origami kept Shark occupied today. She's obviously looking forward to the journey home for Christmas, because in anticipation she's sat several silent hours, recreating her own festive front room, complete with decorated tree, presents, mantelpiece, candles and three Santa socks. We all look at it in wonder, I declare it brilliant, and suggest she photographs it.

Yes, she's probably a better origamist than photographer. Or maybe she has the angle of that tree perfect because we never screw it in the bucket properly. And we do stick a floor mop in it, so that bit is true too.

But I remain quietly impressed by her lovely, unbowed nerdy streak. And the hours she can take so simply and gently, without rush or pressure to spoil her time.