A miserable ease. I don't use that phrase the way Nietzsche intended. I've read the passage in Zarathustra and it doesn't fit. I mean it the way we used it in Boulder: giving up on the spiritual quest and sinking into a lazy self indulgent lifestyle. I sank into a miserable ease twice: first in Tallahassee in the 1970s, the result of letting myself get lulled by success, then in Seattle in the 90s, the result of letting myself get lulled by marriage.
Cats. In Tallahassee I was too successful in parlaying my writing skills into a professional career in program evaluation. It was the first time I made that mistake I needed to make with my gift for writing. It was great at first; I got a lot of energy from the job and the new age church. My first two years after college were a roller coaster ride from Tallahassee to St Pete and back again. But after we left the lake house I started withdrawing, pulling away from Linda, Marty and the church, getting into collecting things and being by myself. I moved to East Park Avenue so I'd have more room to do that. When I got lonely, instead of reaching out to people I adopted cats.
Mean spirited. I've written about my descent into miserable ease in Leaving Tallahassee, how I was well on my way to becoming a comfortable asshole. What I didn't write there was how my misery affected my relationship with Sally. I was already in that state by the time we met, so it colored everything that happened between us. I was not a good lover for Sally, despite my enthusiasm. I was petty, critical, mean spirited a lot of the time. All our best times together involved drinking, sometimes a lot. Booze made me a lot easier to be with. Sally was willing to put up with it because of her ulterior motive. She clearly hadn't been treated well by her previous lovers.