Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Zen of Hammering

In my mind the neighborhood has big ears. It knows when I open the doors and let the dogs out early every morning. It hears me playing the piano during the day and keeps an inventory of my bad notes. It hears me leave for lunch and return. And it listens to my work on the fence.

Yes, in my mind there is a jury of retired master carpenters close by, sitting there with pencil and paper making notes about each buzz of my circular saw and each frrrt of my cordless drill fastening the fence brackets to their posts. But in particular these judges analyze each hammer stroke. They know, just from the sound, when my hammer stroke is not dead on, when it is too weak, and so on.

Of course even the untrained listener had concluded from the very first that I was the most pathetic girly-man hammer person imaginable, with these weak little tap, tap, tap strokes, like I was using daddy's hammer and it was just too big for my little girly hands. What they didn't know was that I was installing the fence less than a foot away from my neighbor's fence, so there was no room to give a proper hammer stroke. Oh, the indignity of it all. I could have just announced the problem out loud periodically ("There's not enough room to hammer, OK. I'm doing the best I can.") But that would have been weird. That's when I bought the special screwdriver.

Finally I've reached that portion of the fence that has no barriers behind. From this point on I can stand upright like a man and swing my hammer like I'm swinging a baseball bat. BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM, so that there is no doubt in the neighborhood about my manliness, and so that the jury of neighborhood carpenters can take note and adjust their opinion of me.

About 2,000 nails to go.

It got so hot yesterday that I put up an umbrella at my wood-cutting station. That's the nice thing about a privacy fence--no one can see what a wuss I am.

To come: Making a long straight line.

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