The Little Ease

Much of today I’ve felt on the brink of tears. No special reason; nothing dreadful has happened. I’ve misplaced my wedding ring; not my original one, that has long been to small, but one we bought two years ago. I suspect the faeries have borrowed it but it’s sent me scurrying in corners and turning out piles of books and magazines, and making me anxious in the process. Correction: more anxious.

Those of you who are here regularly will know I have a tendency to suffer from anxiety, though externally I rarely show it. My mask is one of unflappability. But inside I am often a seething mass of undefined and unfocussed anxiety.

Let me now introduce you to my companion of late: The Little Ease. I couldn’t find a picture so I will write you one instead.

The Little Ease was a delightful invention of the oh-so-inventive middle ages, and is basically a device for torture. Before you start imagining thumb screws and Iron maidens, the Little Ease was rather more subtle than those imposters. It wasn’t designed to cripple or maim. Well, not quickly anyway. It consisted of a small metal cage with several strategically placed spikes; don’t worry about the spikes, they’re almost decorative. The cage admitted one, though I suspect some devillish bastard doubled up the occupants for fun. It wasn’t long enough to lie down in, nor tall enough to stand up in, and the spikes(remember the spikes, oh my best beloved?) was so placed as to stop the occupant from sitting down. That’s it: the Little Ease.

Doesn’t sound so bad does it?

Think again. You can’t straighten out or stretch or lie down or even just sit. You are trapped in a perpetual crouch. You can’t lean against anything because of the spikes. If you drop off to sleep in that crouch, you fall and bash your face against the point of a spike.

People were put in them for years.


One man apparently lived in one for seventeen years and when released lived to a respectable old age.

I don’t know about his age beforehand or his mental health afterwards either.

Now imagine you are in that cage with the amusing name.

Nasty isn’t it?

That’s what my head inside feels like this evening. I can’t get comfortable to save my life; I can’t find a posture that isn’t agony after an hour or two. I don’t know when they’re coming to let me out and I can’t even remember who put me in here.

I have a seminar for work this evening (unpaid) and maybe that might be why I’ve been feeling so anxious, as there’s a lot going on that I dislike and find upsetting. I’ve tried meditating but I keep getting the error message.

So if you happen to be walking past my personal little ease, do me a favour, if you can’t fetch me the key, at least chuck me a pillow or something!