Cell block tango

I was blindfolded, handcuffed to a couple of my friends, and led me into a prison cell, with a few accomplices similarly bound in the cell next door.  This wasn’t a remake of 50 Shades on Broadway or the next Hostel movie; this was an escape room.  Our mission was to work together to escape from a mock prison, using clues and items planted around the environment.

Escape rooms are all the rage these days.  I see them in every city that I visit, now.  It’s probably some metaphor for Western life: that we all feel trapped beneath layers of self-doubt, unmet goals, and unstretched imaginations.  So the solution is to pay someone to construct a contained, winnable scenario that we can solve and feel better about ourselves.  How’s that for self loathing?

We indeed had to use a variety of skills and different ways of thinking to get through it.  At some point we had to swing a magnet on a rope to grab a metal object outside of our cells.  We also had to re-wire a door keypad using a technical schematic.  We broke a lamp during our overzealous scouring.  Oops.  I reached into a fake toilet (which, to be fair, I wasn’t entirely sure was fake until I’d reached in), just to make sure nothing important was hidden down near the brown stains.  Nothing was.  But once we uncuffed ourselves, I was compelled to dash into the other cell and reach into that brown stained bowl, too.  Nothing was there either.  But still … I’m a thorough guy and surely that’s worth 10 points for effort.

I found it quite enjoyable, especially the way that we started with our sight and movement restricted, so that we had few options and had to really work together.  It felt somewhat how I imagine a real prison escape would go down, sans the fisticuffs and claustrophobia.  I’m just glad we didn’t have to outsmart Donald Sutherland to escape.


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