There is nothing more transfixing to the human brain and eye than an open flame. This is all well and good, but sometimes in life we are thrown into situations that require us to focus on various other subjects even in the presence of rapid oxidation (fire). Here’s how to be in a room with a fireplace and talk to the people around you without getting distracted by how fucking cool fire is.
Silently repeat back any words that are spoken to you.
If you are having a conversation with someone in a room with an active fireplace, try to prevent your soul from absolutely leaving your body as you stare into the flickering flames. Mentally repeat back the words your companion says to you in an effort to fill your brain with these statements instead of the default, “Wow. How is fire so endlessly beautiful and captivating?” Since people sitting by fireplaces are prone to introspective monologues, it will be difficult to stay engaged. But at least offer an occasional “mm” or “interesting” while your eyes glaze over, transported through time and space by the Fire God. Ooooh.
Pretend you’re impacted by what they’re saying, not the eternal flames.
If you’re already thinking so intently about how cool fire is that you’re incapable of understanding a word that’s said to you, then it might be time to pretend your focused silence is the result of their impactful tale. When their speech comes to a natural end, let out one long fire-induced “woooooooow”, and then stare meaningfully right into those gorgeous flames like Elio at the end of Call Me by Your Name except instead of crying because your lover is getting married, you’ll be crying because: “Damn. Fire.”
If you’re desperate to stay with it, try an old fashioned method of attention control and sharply pinch your arm or leg. Of course, the stinging pain might remind you of a burn: That great threat each lapping flame promises. Now you’re kind of doing that l’appel du vide thing where you think about reaching into the fire and grabbing a burning log. Oh fire, how we fear and worship thee. All hail the one and only Fire God for all eternity! I mean, right??
So good luck not getting distracted by the fire, but ultimately, you will. It’s your fate; it’s everyone’s fate. Fire is cool as hell.