I noticed a massive change in my energy level almost immediately upon starting at my new courier job. I was outside most of the time; the combination of sunshine, fresh air and a lot of walking brought me to a most manic level of excitement. I took on many projects, most of which did not pay. I covered upwards of three shows a week for Monday Magazine and began to work on this memoir too.
There were other changes: I pursued an unconventional definition of truth.
At this stage in my life, nobody ever believed me when I told them I was an introvert. My beer drenched bombast and wild laughter inevitably resounded off the walls of whatever din I found myself in. I could talk to anyone, at length, about almost anything under our sun or any other in our universe. But what most people didn’t realize was that the excess of sound, verbiage and laughter that spilled from my lips was actually a mask. I didn’t believe, endorse, or even care about 99% of what I was saying: it was all a laugh.
My solitary walks and driving runs bestowed upon me an energy, almost superhuman. I was positively charged as I descended into a chosen pub or restaurant, working on concert reviews, cd reviews and the memoir well into the evening.
I was rushed, and on my run; I felt just like Jesus’ son. I wrote for six or seven hours at a time, avoiding calls from friends, and especially my wife, for fear that they would drain my precious, silent excitement. When the pub closed, I went home, never drunk, but never sober either. I was invariably wound up and Margo was forced to absorb the full extent of my rampaging energy, both positive and negative.
Some nights, I would come a-crashin’ through our shared basement door; I raved about a band I’d just seen, or an album I’d discovered in the stacks at the magazine. Sometimes, a dislodged memory, or dream was all it took to send me into the stratosphere and while, on these occasions, my monologues were purely positive, the sheer enormity of the energy that spring from my lips paralyzed my wife with fear; I saw it.
On other nights, almost exclusively on the evenings on which I’d forsook my usual beer-an-hour rule and finished the night with a whiskey or two for a night cap, I came home with anger in my belly. Don’t get me wrong; I was never angry with Margo –she was and is beyond such slander. But I did direct my rage upon tables of dudes I’d seen at the pub, who treated their server like a piece of meat… the list went on; most of them were men. I loudly wished such chauvinists dead– no words were minced.
Things continued to escalate. Not only was I spending less at home in order to work at the pub, but the by the time I got home I was completely exhausted; I fell into a heap and snored loudly. While I regularly denounced North America’s Protestant work ethic in my impromptu sermons, I was undoubtedly a work-a-holic; it took its toll on my relationship with my wife. Soon, we were not talking to one another.
Several events led up to the dissolution of our relationship. One in particular. We hosted a party in the honour of a friend who’d moved to Victoria the previous year. Since moving to the island, Jessica found it impossible to find substantial work. While undoubtedly, and consummately educated– she was, in fact, a lawyer–Jessica’s year in Victoria equated to one hardship after another.
I was very familiar with the particular brand of strife Jessica encountered; I did my best to counsel her through it. Nonetheless, she was despondent. At the time she worked part time at a local bookstore for $10/hour in attempts to pay off her massive student loan, her rent, and the vast assortment of taxes that greet every new British Columbian at our border with a treacherous slap to face and to wallet. Jessica was seriously considering moving back to the prairies.
Our party was a desperate attempt to rally Jessica from what we considered to be folly. Margo and I both saw something in her, and were both positive that if she chose to stick it out for just a few more months, she would find a more suitable job and wage.
Margo organized the party; it was to be a surprise– twenty people agreed on Facebook to attend, one of whom was Ken, Jessica’s most recent love interest. Margo and I had heard nothing but resounding praise for Ken, and we were both eager to meet him, though we soon discovered that the feeling was not mutual.
Ken wore a bomber jacket to the party that evening, and every subsequent evening in which he bestowed upon us the great pleasure of his company. He introduced himself to everyone in the room, even lowering himself to shake hands with some of his chosen few. We told Ken to tell Jessica that the evening would be a quiet one– just the four of us– a first double date, but he dropped the ball and let her in on the surprise, though she pretended to be shocked anyway.
Admittedly, the party took place on a quiet Sunday night in November but never one to ease off for reasons as silly as calendar days, I saw the party as an opportunity to get a wee bit tipsy. I polished off most of the 1.5 litre bottle of Red Wine Margo and I had purchased for the occasion; she had a glass or two. I then moved on to the finer bottles our friends freely offered.
I was well into my cups by the time we jumped from behind furniture to surprise our honoured guest. The party was comprised of an awkward mix of her friends and ours, so the conversations soon became stilted and were all incredibly brief. I compensated by drinking with increasing excess; the weight lifted from me with every sip of fortified grape juice.
And now is the time to divulge a dirty little secret. The mountains of laundry that, over the past few months, had accumulated in my wife and I’s shared bedroom had long-since absorbed every piece of underwear in my possession. Rather than turning a pair of my own inside out for the evening, I decided to sneak into my wife’s underwear drawer to cop a fresh pair of her drawers for the evening; they were incredibly comfortable, I must say.
In my elated state, I felt it to be appropriate to share her panties, along with my junk, which was tucked inside, with the rest of the crowd who’d made the journey to our humble abode. As I dropped my pants for a big reveal, everyone in the room immediately fell silent, save for the handful of close friends who choked on their respective drinks as they bore witness, for the first (and hopefully last) time, Nick Lyons clad in female linens.
The guest of honour was more than non-plussed, however, as was my wife. Their combined damper on the party stifled it completely. Soon, people grabbed their jackets, saying they had to get up early for another Monday morning that had come too soon.