I cherish my solitude, those moments when I am free of any obligation, even if only temporarily. Those times when I can just spend time with the thoughts, bring them into focus, sort them out, and do whatever I want with them.

What prompted this was a couple of notes in my inbox. Two total strangers want to be my friend – “a friend request.” I confess I have a Facebook page, but I’m pretty haphazard about keeping it up. Mostly I set it up out of curiosity. It holds no real attraction for me.

I have a few real friends, not these cybercreations. They’re friends because they have the uncanny knack of knowing when I want to be left alone, and when not. They’re a rare and patient group.

This all led me to wondering about my students, who cannot seem to survive more than a few minutes at a stretch without texting someone. I was on a field trip not too long ago with a group of students. Kids on the front of the bus were texting kids in the back.

“I can’t stand being alone,” a student once said to me.

“What are you afraid of?” I asked.