An online conversation descends into a blur of misunderstanding and nastiness and culminates in an unceremonial, undignified unfriending. You are blocked: it is your f i r s t social m e d i a b u l l y, you t h i n k; your last, you hope. But it’s also okay, because Josh Wardle’s Internet creation has you dreaming in five-letter w o r d s:
H U M A N
F A U L T
M A K E S
E Q U A L
H O P E S
I N E P T
Your bicycle gets t a k e n from out of your bolted, locked garage. When you realise what’s happened, you s t a r e at the bent and twisted m e t a l of the lock mechanism; its vulnerability reminding you of your own fleeting, fragile life, and you feel sad about everything you’ve ever lost.
And why is it so f u n n y when, sometimes, the clouds over Lion’s Head look something like Donald T r u m p’s toupée? The hardness of living a soft, easy, damning life here – in this unwarranted country of your b i r t h – cascades out of you in s h a r p blades of laughter; and, if you’re not careful, sometimes in silenced bullets of t e a r s.
You obsess anxiously over SONA, wondering how the President could possibly get out of his impossibly political pickle. But then he mimics, b a d l y, smoking a j o i n t behind the lecturn, w h i l e announcing to S o u t h Africa that he’s industrialising hemp and cannabis and creating 130 000 jobs in the process. You feel l i g h t and strangely calm.
A little p o o c h, independent but l o v e d, strolls by you on the prom, sniffing intently beneath a tree before lifting his leg and splashing his s c e n t up against it; his s m a l l, f u r r y life both carefree and deliberate, and you find yourself thinking – that, surely, that most necessarily – the meaning of life is not a five-letter word, but rather it is dogs.