Al Batt: Missing the service of full service

Published 5:04 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I miss full-service gas stations.

Why?

When the guy asked me if I wanted my pickup truck filled up, I’d reply, “No, I’m not the King of England.”

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. It’s the time of the year when crossing gourds help young pumpkins cross roads safely. The seasons change as if directed by a masterful magician’s sleight of hand. It snowed in my yard on October 13. I was walking while dressed in a T-shirt and shorts (because I’m an idiot) when the snow joined me. The heat index was of little concern. A flock of dark-eyed juncos moved like blowing leaves on the grass, the white sides of their tails were evident in flight. The famed snowbirds brought the snow with them. The snow wasn’t trackable. On October 14, the water in the birdbath had an icy ceiling. It’s Mother Nature’s job to keep us hoping and guessing.

My car insurance company isn’t one of the funny ones, but they handled my hail insurance claim nicely. I took my car for a drive to see if it handled differently without dents. I saw a sign on a man’s lawn. It read, “I’m an (epithet). I’m not running for office. I just wanted my own sign.”

A lift

I entered an elevator in a towering building. I recalled having bad boyhood dreams about wearing a necktie and working in tall buildings one day.

I curtailed my recollections when a man wearing a necktie got in the crowded elevator. He had an authoritative air, if you can get into an elevator with an authoritative air without being an elevator repairman, and bellowed, “Ninth floor!”

There was no “please” included and not a hint of a smile. He carried no pompoms, so he wasn’t a cheerleader for that floor. He glared at us. Did he think we were a group of elevator operators? He repeated his order in a gruff voice that was both demanding and threatening. He wanted it done in a jiffy. A jiffy is 1/100 of a second.

A security guard pressed the 21st floor button for him.

I got off on the 7th floor and watched a guy ahead of me walk with his head down while texting. He kept walking and texting until he ran smack dab into a wall.

Travel is entertaining.

I’ve learned

Monkey bars seemed nice, but they had a treacherous side.

Texting with a landline phone is difficult.

The chances of becoming lost with Gilligan, the Skipper too, a millionaire and his wife, a movie star, the Professor and Mary Ann are slim.

I don’t know how most things work.

Sometimes the answer is a bigger hammer.

Nature notes

Boxelder bugs are true bugs and belong to the same family as stink bugs, cicadas and other insects with piercing and sucking mouthparts. Adult boxelder bugs are black with orange or red markings. In late summer and fall, boxelder bugs leave the trees where they were feeding to find protected areas for the winter. They may stain draperies and other light-colored surfaces and produce an unpleasant odor when crushed. They like warm areas and are attracted to buildings with a large southern or western exposure and find buildings standing taller than surrounding structures or isolated on flat land enticing. Boxelder bugs are harmless. They don’t bite or sting, they’re not attracted to food, they aren’t the alligators of the insect world, there isn’t a single instance of anyone being mugged by a boxelder bug, they don’t lay eggs in our homes or eat our fabrics. Compared to multi-colored Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs are welcome houseguests. Masking or duct tape applied over any small opening will keep the insects from entering. A vacuum cleaner is an effective method of removing the sluggish, slow-moving bugs from the house. Box elder bugs suck the juices out of leaves and the developing seeds of boxelder and maple trees, but they don’t siphon enough to hurt the trees. They winter in cozy crevices around your house and eat nothing during that time. Boxelder bugs can release bad-smelling/tasting chemicals to discourage predators. Like other insects with similar capabilities (monarch butterflies), they have bright orange or red markings to warn off predators. If you want them off the outside of your home, you could spray the boxelder bugs with a homemade concoction of 1/2 cup of laundry detergent mixed with 1 gallon of water and it would do them no good. Repeat the treatment as needed.

Meeting adjourned

Kindness makes more sense.