Al Batt: Missing the service of full service – Austin Daily Herald

Al Batt: The full service is missing

Published Tuesday October 18, 2022 5:04 pm

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I miss full service gas stations.


When the guy asked me if I wanted to fill up my pickup, I replied, “No, I’m not the King of England.”

Drive past Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I drive past his driveway, thoughts come to me. It’s that time of year when pumpkins help young pumpkins cross the road safely. The seasons change as if directed by the artistry of a master magician. On October 13th it snowed in my garden. I was walking in a t-shirt and shorts (because I’m an idiot) when the snow got to me. The heat index was of little importance. A flock of dark-eyed juncos moved like swaying leaves on the grass, the white sides of their tails showing clearly in flight. The famous Snowbirds brought the snow with them. The snow could not be located. On October 14, the water in the bird bath had an icy blanket. It’s Mother Nature’s job to give us hope and guesswork.

My auto insurance company isn’t one of the fun ones, but they handled my hail damage just fine. I took my car for a ride to see if it handled differently with no dents. I saw a sign on a man’s lawn. It read: “I am a (nickname). I’m not running for office. I just wanted my own mark.”


I entered an elevator in a towering building. I remembered dreaming as a boy that one day I would wear a tie and work in tall buildings.

I was shrinking my memories as a man in a tie boarded the crowded elevator. He had an air of authority, if one can get into an elevator with an air of authority without being an elevator mechanic, and roared, “Ninth floor!”

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

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

I got off on the seventh floor and watched as a guy walked in front of me with his head down while texting. He kept walking and texting until he ran into a wall.

Traveling is fun.

I have learned

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

Sending text messages with a landline phone is difficult.

The chances of getting lost with Gilligan, the skipper, 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

Boxwood bugs are true bugs and belong to the same family as stink bugs, cicadas, and other insects with biting and sucking mouthparts. Adult boxelder beetles are black with orange or red markings. In late summer and fall, boxwood bugs leave the trees where they have been feeding to find sheltered areas for the winter. They can stain curtains and other light-colored surfaces and produce an unpleasant odor when rubbed. They like warm areas and are attracted to buildings with a strong south or west exposure, finding buildings taller than surrounding buildings or isolated on flat land alluring. Boxelder bugs are harmless. They don’t bite or sting, they’re not attracted to food, they’re not the alligators of the insect world, there’s not a single instance of anyone being ambushed by a boxel der bug, they don’t lay eggs in our homes or eat our fabrics. Compared to the colorful Asian ladybirds, boxwood bugs are welcome house guests. Covering or tape placed over each small opening will prevent the insects from entering. A vacuum is an effective way to remove the sluggish, slow-moving insects from your home. Boxwood bugs suck the juices from the leaves and developing seeds of boxwood and maple trees, but they don’t suck enough to injure the trees. They hibernate in cozy crevices around your house and do not eat anything during this time. Boxwood bugs can release foul smelling/tasting chemicals to deter predators. Like other insects with similar abilities (monarch butterflies), they have bright orange or red markings to warn of predators. If you want to remove them from the outside of your home, you can spray the boxelder bugs with a homemade mix of 1/2 cup laundry detergent mixed with 1 gallon of water and it wouldn’t do them any good. Repeat treatment as needed.

meeting adjourned

Kindness makes more sense.