My top nine are: drinking tea, hardware shops, trees, Old People clothes, rude notes from teachers, a well tossed salad, a compost heap (well tossed), Gregory House and flannel pyjamas.
The tenth delight, and possibly topping my list of obsessions, is smoking. And since the age of seventeen, when I learn the art of blowing smoke rings from my bedroom window in Port Elizabeth, I am the most committed smoker on Planet Earth.
I have many joyful memories of smoking. I smoke while breast feeding. I smoke floating on the Dead Sea. I smoke the contents of a rooibos teabag one night when the Bennies and Hennies run dry and the shops are closed. My all time favourite is smoking while driving to work on those cold winter mornings with the heater going and the car windows tightly shut. Bliss.
But at the end of March 2010, I quit smoking. Finally. For Good. Really. And in that cold week in July, when I sit down to write Confessions of a Virgin Loser for Mr Steve Vosloo and his bunch of cellphone crazed young adults, I am still no longer a smoker.
I put my hands on the keyboard and the five fingers on my right hand feel lonely and unappreciated. And my mouth feels slack and my lungs feel under-used and in need of exercise. But I cannot smoke. I mustn’t.
So instead of smoking, I eat.
I eat and I eat and I eat and I eat. Mostly I eat a lot of bread. I dismiss my mother’s caution that a young girl should not get fat on bread. Because bread is my favourite food, along with butter. And I am not a young girl.
My housekeeper Zama says you are always eating. Eat, eat, eat. Whenever I look you are eating. Hawu, you are looking worse these days. I tell Zama not to talk so much. I am trying to write Confessions of a Virgin Loser for the cellphone addicts. And stop hiding the bread and butter.
At the end of writing Confessions of a Virgin Loser I get on the scale and I am worse. I am fat. I can no longer fit into my wardrobe, or into any of my clothes.
Today I am writing the sequel to Melly, Mrs Ho and Me. My deadline is at the end of November. I am still doggy-paddling around Chapter Three because I can’t smoke – and I can’t eat.
I can’t stuff my face with bread and butter because in five weeks time I have to put on a bathing costume and lie on Hermanus Beach. And watch the skinny people lying on the beach smoking - watching the fat people - watching them.