My baby blanket, crocheted by my Great Aunt Hazel. October 2012.

My baby blanket, crocheted by my Great Aunt Hazel. October 2012.

Remember my Great Aunt Hazel? In addition to the quilt, she made my favorite baby blanket: An oatmeal-colored rectangle with little tassels at the two short ends.

I didn't carry my baby blanket everywhere, mainly because I took it once to day care (or "Mother's Day Out"—I'm not sure about the difference) and a tassel got slightly extended on the play equipment. The blanket was too prized for the world at large to just mess up. So I kept it home. (I was a very particular child.)

Aside: You're wondering, aren't you? Yes, I still have the baby blanket. The picture above is contemporary to this post. In addition, I have my childhood teddy bear and assorted other blankets I made into "nests" at bedtime.

Here's the thing: Most baby blankets are binkies, right? A child carries her binky everywhere she goes for comfort and self-soothing. But I didn't take my blanket around with me. So it wasn't my binky.

My binky? A book.

By a certain point in kidhood, I always carried something to read. I took books on car trips, into restaurants, and over to houses mom and dad dragged us to visit. At a given point, once the pleasantries or meal was over, I could escape into my book.

Another aside: Sometimes I pine for the age at which it wasn't rude to read during lengthy dinners or group visits or family gatherings.

Books still serve as my binkies.

I have a very difficult time leaving the house without a book or magazine. I tell people—and myself—that it's insurance against getting there early and the person I'm meeting getting there late. Or what if I get stuck somewhere? (Where? I have no idea.) I'll need a book!

Living in England and using public transportation encouraged this habit. Trains and buses are wonderful reading spots. Here in Houston, though, there are fewer situations where carrying a book makes sense.

Sometimes I catch myself with a book under my arm when I'm leaving for work in the mornings. Recently, I took a book to a bar to meet friends. I didn't realize I carried it until a friend pointed it out, teasing me about bringing something to read. "Did you think we’d be that boring?" (Oops.)

For many people today, cell phones are binkies. They carry them everywhere—not just when they leave their homes and offices, but around their homes and offices.

I'd rather have a book.

What’s your binky?