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Monday
Oct152012

Binkies

My baby blanket, croched 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?

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Reader Comments (4)

Firstly, a confession. I glanced at the title and I misread "Bikinies". I looked down at the blanket and thought "that's a very odd looking bikini".

I don't remember much from that early in my childhood. I do recall I had a sock monkey instead of a teddy bear. At the time I was struck by the fact the other kids had teddy bears and I had a sock monkey and felt slightly ostracized.

If the purpose of a binky is to provide comfort then I suppose various items that I have owned qualify. A Kennedy Half Dollar in high school, a key chain that I have carried for the past four cars, an old t-shirt that I refused to give up until it pretty much disintegrated from too many years of overuse.

As to cell phones I suppose they were previously a binky. Older model cell phones were not that useful apart from being phones. You carried that cell phone around "just in case something happened". Smartphones now provide so many useful features that they have become utilitarian rather just a comfort item to carry around.

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Pora

I do think cell phones--even the smart ones--are still binkies in the traditional sense for some people, William. I know some people who carry them around their houses and who even take them to the bathroom! That's not a matter of usefulness--that's a security blanket.

But it's true that I hadn't thought of them as possibly disqualifying on binky status due to the usefulness factor. That's a good point. For many people who only take them where they might be handy, they may not qualify as binkies.

The sock-monkey-instead-of-teddy-bear story, though, is super darling.

October 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

I always carry my Kindle in my purse throughout the week for that reason. You never know when you'll be lunching along. On the weekend, I carry a smaller purse and don't take my Kindle but I do have the app on my phone so I can read my book there as well. I am simply never anywhere early (I'm always late, can I blame it on being Hispanic? LOL), I hardly ever eat alone anymore and I simply don't get the chance to read as much as I'd like.

Oh - and that is what made me fall in love with my Kindle. I actually read more than I used to because it is so slim that I can now always have a book on me. When it was an actual printed book, it often didn't fit easily in my purse (I hate carrying huge bags). Another plus? If I finish a book, I can simply download another one within seconds, even if I am in the middle of lunch or in a park. Also, I sync my Kindle with the app on my phone & the one on my iPad so I always have my books with me.

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercybertoad

Too funny, Elaine! One of the reasons I typically get places early is that I do have a book, so I don't worry about getting there too early and being bored!

I still haven't gone for the e-reader deal yet... I'm still too attached to the bound-paper experience.

January 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

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