About halfway through this family vacation, we looked for some active participation thing for the kids to do together. Jet skiing? Parasailing? A museum or a tour of some sort? One of the things my daughters and their cousin have enjoyed in the past are escape rooms. That is what they have decided to do.
If you aren’t familiar with these things, these “escape rooms”, let me describe them briefly. They are far more than rooms, and yes-the point is that the challenge is to escape. The escape is quite often a successful navigation of a mystery or adventure of some sort, not you as the victim of a kidnapping or unlawful restraint. The “escape” is a stage by stage progression through multiple rooms and areas as you successfully solve each stage of the mystery or quest. You emerge “free” at the end if you are successful in the time allotted.
A couple years ago I did one of these escape rooms with my two older daughters and a college classmate of the oldest. Between the four of us we believed we had quite a collection of brainpower, so we chose the most difficult “room” (you are provided a success percentage in the description of each before you sign up). We succeeded with the granting of a few extra minutes. Your progress, I guess, is observed via close circuit video and occasionally a voice from the sky either provides vital information as it’s scripted, or may give a hint. I think the extra time came after my oldest, in a moment of worry and frustration, looked up into the camera and said:
“Can we please have more time. I will do…anything.“
We escaped, and nothing ever came of that commitment, but my daughter worries about the day when the phone rings and that debt comes calling. She also worries about going back into the clutches of the same organization she made such a huge open-ended promise to. Which will happen tomorrow.
Of course I’m dramatizing this. There’s very little chance that all will happen. What will happen, though, or what is very likely to happen, is that these kids will run out of time and some very befuddled escape room staff will wonder what the hell is wrong with my daughters, my nephew, and the tagalong boyfriend who came with us. He’s an awesome kid. He came with number two, is a little younger than her, but a standup young guy.
Anyways, why my prediction?
They spent the time immediately after deciding on the escape room, and once again choosing the hardest room, deciding on what roles each would play within the world of the challenge. They have chose some pirate themed one. The basics are that they are supposed to complete a mission on the pirate ship in service to their captain. Before they get any details on what we’ll be paying for, though, they have decided to hatch their own plan. They have picked pirate names and back stories. They have assigned general roles. They are practicing pirate accents and insults. And have done a blind draw to see which one will take on the role of a traitor to the group… All I can imagine is these facilitators watching them act out this crazy crap as if they are on a stage built just for them and their story, while they try to complete the story they’ve paid for.
I can’t wait to hear how it goes.