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The narrator might have been referring to the fact that Dr. Peebles was very caught up in his career and his image instead of being fully aware of what was going on in his personal and family life. Often, people can get absorbed into their careers...so much so that they become out of touch with their spouses and/or children. They become detached and are not perceptive when it comes to detecting the feelings and the moods of their loved ones.
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