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 Walmart.com.
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.