Panhandling, impeding left lane among many pet peeves

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By Gary Shelton
Wesco Insurance

As I get older, my list of pet peeves continues to grow.

I am annoyed by a lot of the same things that bother the average person. You know, things like having twenty check-out lines and only two checkers. People who answer their cell phone in the movie theatre, which in my opinion, should carry the death penalty. It drives me insane when that one person in the restaurant talks so loud that everybody in the whole place has to listen to their story. Why do hotdogs come in packages of ten, while buns come in a package of eight? You know, everyday irritants shared by all.

My longest standing and biggest pet peeve has always been drivers who impede the left lane. Oklahoma even passed a law against it. This is a law that I wish they would enforce with little tolerance. It should be fairly simple. If you look in your rearview mirror and there are vehicles stacking up behind you, move to the next lane to your right and let my people go! This concept applies to all lanes except the far right lane.

Pam and I were rushing home from Tulsa last Sunday morning, just trying to make it home in time for church, but the clogged left lane cost us valuable time and caused us to miss part of the praise and worship music. So, not only does impeding the left lane cause traffic congestion and safety issues, it can affect one’s spiritual life as well. So, as I’ve said many times…for the love of God, MOVE OVER.

I recently acquired a new pet peeve while driving up around Quail Springs. Have you seen these little league organizations standing at the intersections and panhandling for money? Since this activity brings with it many safety concerns, I can justify venting about it in an article that is supposed to be about insurance and risk management.

Back in the day (here we go) kids would go door to door selling various items, set up a bake sale in front of a local business, or have a car wash to raise funds for their organization. Kids were taught that if you want something like a nice new uniform, or a trip to a competition that is in another state, that you had to work for it and earn the privilege of doing things that you enjoy.

Now we just load them up and stand on the busiest street corners of Oklahoma City and teach them how to beg for money right next to the homeless guy with the cardboard sign? Really? Have you seen this? I witnessed kids and adults crossing in front of cars, weaving in and out of traffic on foot in order to get to the next lane to grab a handout.

Shame on people for exposing their kids to such a dangerous situation, and shame on people for raising children to think that if they ever want something that they can’t afford, that it is okay to ask others to pay for it. These children will inevitably never learn how to work, save, and earn the things they want. They will grow up with an attitude of entitlement and dependency, that is, if they don’t get run over by a car first.

It is going to be a horrific and undeserved experience for the driver that ends up hitting one of these pedestrians. If groups continue this activity, it is a matter of when, not if, tragedy occurs.