absent oneself

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The danger he runs thereby, if indeed "to be ironic is to absent oneself," is that the young man should be lost to him forever.
With the increasing prevalence of online tutoring options, physical presence is no longer a precondition of one-to-one tutoring, and Sherwood reminds us that there are many ways to absent oneself in interpersonal interactions, even when sitting right next to a writer, talking about a piece of writing.