Oh dear…oh oh dear…
People…I am lost…I am utterly gone…
There is a new addiction in my life. A money sucking addiction that promises to ruin my bank account and steal my life away. Friends will wonder whatever happened to me. My family will worry and fret. Interventions will inevitably follow.
You see, I have discovered….Escape the Room.
For those that don’t know, Escape the Room is basically a live action adventure game modelled mostly after the actual virtual Escape the Rooms that are popular on mobile devices. You and a group of friends are locked in a room, usually with a theme (Mayan Temple, wine cellar of doom, vampire room, you name it). In the room are clues and puzzles that you have to solve in order to finally find your way out. You have one hour to solve it.
These things are popping up everywhere in Toronto now and are exploding in popularity. It…has pretty much consumed my life. And of course who else could have brought this amazing doom down upon me than Errol.
Being Errol though and being unable to do anything by halves, it only makes sense that his obsession runs even deeper than mine. I have so far been to four rooms. He claims he has been to six, but that’s either because his fish brain can’t retain the actual information or he’s actually a little embarrassed of the actual figures.
But in this case, I can’t really blame him for the obsession. They are an adventure game come to life. Who WOULDN’T love them? Well…probably many people…but for us gamers, it’s a dream come true!
There are simple puzzles, there are ridiculously complex puzzles, sometimes the room is fairly simple with nothing more than a table chair and a bed and some posters, sometimes it’s super involved with secret compartments that slide open when you place an idol on a pedestal or a bookcase that moves to reveal a secret room. Sometimes you’re even handcuffed!
But that’s not the most fun part about the rooms. The most fun, by far, is that you get to see Sergeant Errol.
Sergeant Errol is a far cry from the happy go lucky egg loving maniac the internet knows and loves. Oh, certainly, outside the escape room he is all laughter, teasing and loudness. But then he gets inside the room, and the moment that timer turns on there is a mission that must be done. And he will tolerate no dilly dallying.
There we were, trapped in a tomb with locked chests, doors, strange wall paintings and panels to explore. Sergeant Errol immediately got to work.
“You, examine that chest. You, find out what those symbols mean. You, hold this lantern. I need to look at this padlock.”
You would think that someone that insane would simply be running around the room screaming at all the pretty decorations. But when it comes to puzzles, the jokes stop and the extreme focus starts.
Sergeant Errol has no time for crackpot theories or insecurities. Even his sister wasn’t safe from Sergeant Errol, which led to one of the many hilarious exchanges of the evening:
Errol: Lizette, I heard a voice coming from over there. Go and listen to what it says.
Lizette: You heard a voice? Really?
Errol: Yes! Go and listen! I heard “three” and “six”. I have to work on this!
(Two full minutes pass)
Lizette: I HEAR SOMETHING!
Errol: What did it say?!
Lizette: Um…I forget!…I think I heard “six”
Errol: THAT WAS WHAT I SAID EARLIER! YOU HAD ONE JOB!
It’s funny because I sometimes forget that people don’t really see all that much of Focused Errol. For all his insanity, when it comes to working and puzzle solving, Errol suddenly gets SERIOUS and is freaking machine of efficiency.
Which is very good, considering that there are people like me who are not exactly the best when it comes to things like time limits:
Errol: Okay, we have to figure out this code…
(30 seconds pass)
Me: We need to ask for a clue!
Errol: What?! We barely started!
Manda: I’m stuck!
Errol: Me too, but that doesn’t mean we can’t figure it out!
Manda: We only have 35 minutes left!
Errol: That is more than HALF THE TIME LEFT! WE DO NOT NEED A HINT!
(30 more seconds pass)
Manda: We need a hint.
It’s a weird sort of role reversal where instead of us “putting up” with a bumbling Errol, Errol is suddenly surrounded by incompetent and neurotic fools.
Escape the Room is all about the team you gather. And I’m not just talking about who is “smart”. I’m talking about who you can work with, who you can collaborate with, who might take things too seriously, who you won’t try to strangle on the way out.
Luckily, Sergeant Errol is an ideal Escape buddy to have around. Sure, he orders you around and probably has the urge to smack you when you spend too much time spewing crackpot theories or panicking, but even if you were to fail, he would still have had fun and doesn’t take it to heart.
Besides which, it’s one of the few things I can actually exasperate him. I mean come on, who WOULDN’T take advantage of that?
Now…if you’ll excuse me…IjusthavetogoandseeifescapeisopenyetSEEYA!