Broadway Octocular!

Perhaps some movie or TV show made me anxious about the four binoculars in my luggage. Perhaps it was the process of buying them in the hunting department at Walmart.

A couple of months ago, I purchased balcony seats for the June 7 performance of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. My wife traveled to Manhattan with the Knoxville Choral Society on June 5. I would meet up with her on the 7th.

On the 6th, my wife texted me from New York. She had gone shopping for opera glasses and was shocked by the $199 price tag. Even the cheapest ones cost over $50. I looked online and found some $10 binoculars at

Finding the binoculars in the store was more difficult. They were supposed to be in a glass case under the cash register. One clerk told me that they must be sold out. Meanwhile another clerk was busy checking the Chinese passport of a customer looking to buy hunting supplies.

I thought I saw some binoculars mixed among the rifle scopes in a case behind the clerks. I asked the first clerk to look and sure enough, he found two of the $10 binoculars and two that cost $20 each. I bought all four. One each for my son, my wife, her friend Jenny, and me.

When I packed my luggage, I made sure to leave the binoculars in their original packaging and on the very top of my clothes. I didn’t know if transporting four pairs of binoculars would be interpreted as weird by the TSA but if they did question it, I could pay to check the bag.

My worry was for naught. Apparently it’s no big deal to bring that many binoculars through airport security in Knoxville. When I got to New York and unpacked, my son and I joked that hunters departing from Knoxville probably have things in their luggage that are a lot more interesting than my binoculars.

My son and I found another unusual item when we checked into our room at The Leo House, a Catholic guest house on 23rd Street. Instead of chocolates on the pillow, they left “comfortable earplugs” for us to use if we needed them.

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