Saturday, June 14, 2014

Top 10 riffs from New Tab by Guillaume Morissette

New Tab is a cross between Shoplifting from American Apparel and Lenny Bruce is Dead, combining the best elements of both. That means funny and poetic observations about Montreal delivered through the eyes of a detached and self-aware narrator. Thankfully Morissette, unlike Tao Lin, seems to tolerate the inclusion of human emotion from time to time. The result is a wisecracking cyborg take on the world, or what I like to call Oculus Riff:

Tab 1
“I am a terrible employee,” I typed. “Sometimes I think I can’t possibly care less but then it happens again. I care less than I was caring.”

“I know that feeling,” typed Shannon. “Two years ago I worked at Fabricland during the summer. It was so underwhelming that it was almost overwhelming.”

Tab 2
“My dad is a business guy,” typed Shannon. “It’s his entire personality. When I was home for Christmas, he lectured me about my romantic life. He said I was open for business but running that business to the ground.”

Tab 3
The entire time I had courted her, she hadn’t figured out that I was courting her. At some point, she had introduced me to her friend Mason, who wore polo shirts and was self-confident and cheerful and didn’t seem to view his own existence as some sort of perplexing burden.

Tab 4
But here’s the thing: Maybe I didn’t want to live in a city so much as observe one from a close distance, like in Sim City. Living in a city was like living multiple lives, each capable of crushing me. It meant forcing myself to meet people, impenetrable three-dimensional emotion factories, being nice to them because I never knew what being nice to them could lead to, parties to attend or job opportunities or collaborating on something or whatever else. The insane number of possibilities a city offered. Trying to compute that number in my head felt like a kind of string theory.

Tab 5
My approach with women was like stacking blocks really high in Tetris while waiting for a straight line that might never come.

Tab 6
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s like, there’s these people on Facebook I’ve never met, but then I see their profiles all the time attending things I want to go to, so I kind of know them from that, and if I see them in public, it’s always weird, like I don’t think of them as people, I think of them as characters, like characters from a sitcom.”

Tab 7
By setting the alarm on my phone for ten, I knew I would get to work late enough for people to notice but not late enough for them to complain. I had slept less than three hours, had a body that felt like a bag of oatmeal, didn’t want to exit the bed. I wanted my pillow to be a supercomputer, allowing me to complete work tasks by rolling my head around on it.

Tab 8
At night, I was either going to parties or hiding in my room. I felt as if my goal overall was to be invited to all the parties, but never go. I was starting to view parties as an infinitely renewable resource, like I could skip one and all that would do is make ten more appear. Still, it was comforting to know that parties were there if I needed them to be there, like a low-hanging fruit.

Tab 9
“I think some people secretly don’t want you to be productive, because if you are, it puts more pressure on them to accomplish something,” I said. “They want you to go out with them all the time so that everyone’s mediocre and no one has to try.”

Tab 10
Unscrew my penis and replace it with a take a penny, leave a penny tray.