The loud chugging noise of the compressor is sometimes a welcome drug. You can’t hear a thing while it is running. The world “on the other side” of it is hissed away. You can go into your own world and there are no interruptions, except from time to time a tap on the shoulder from a helper or friend telling you it’s time for a break.
Another drug is the work itself—the hammering. There is nothing like swinging a hammer. Just as while running, once you relax, you feel you could go on forever, hammering leads you on with its rhythm. Hammering is really drumming; but there is also something wonderful about the way hard rock cedes to your chisel. You pick up that hammer and make the first libation strokes to call down Rhythm. Soon She has come from nowhere and makes a happy machine of you.
This work-stupor produces apparitions. Deaf with the compressor engine, blind to everything around you except your work, you might suddenly realize that before your eyes was someone you don’t know. Depending on the strength of your stupor you may or may not find them worth the trouble to look at. Sometimes you bring them into mental focus and come to understand that you are seeing a woman with a hat at the gate talking to your helper; or find yourself wondering what that man in the suit—a customer?—is after. No; it’s the guy with the crane (and his bill) out of his uniform.