I was at my parents’ house when my friend, Heather, texted and suggested we do something called “Trapped Cleveland.” She sent me a link, and I thought she was kidding. According to the link, she wanted me to be locked in a room for an hour with other people. I laughed. Oh, Heather: what a jokester!
She sent me another link and asked which weekend I was available.
At this point, I called my gal pal and started screaming something to the tune of “I have an anxiety disorder I am claustrophobic I don’t even like other people are you bleepity-bleep-BLEEEEEEEEP insane?”
I said no. Resolutely no. Then, I made the mistake of mentioning Trapped to my husband, and he was all like, “Oh, that sounds like so much fun! When are we going?”
I had a panic attack when Heather actually booked us an escape room for April 30. I got sick to my stomach every time Jake talked about it. Heather kept telling me it would be great fodder for writing, to which I replied, “It’ll be hard to write in a straight jacket.” Jake, because he is very supportive, made fun of me.
Saturday the 30th arrived, and I spent all morning pretending I was not going to be locked in a small room with six other people. I did a bit of research about escape rooms. If you don’t know, they’re a lot like the movie Saw (which is exactly what I kept telling everyone as we drove to Trapped: “This is how horror movies start!”). You’re locked in a room, and there are clues hidden in the room that allow you to open puzzles … that lead to more puzzles … and more puzzles … until, in theory, you find your way out in the hour-long time frame. Unless you’ve chewed off your own foot.
When we arrived at the location in Coventry, I was sweating profusely. Some kids had just exited their escape room and were screaming, and everyone knows I do not do well with screaming. The cheerful Trapped employee explained we were helping to stop the apocalypse, but to do so, we had to find a way out of the science lab, our assigned escape room. Then, the Trapped employee locked us in, smiling, as if to say, “Enjoy paying $25 for your admission to the nuthouse!”
But. Once inside, things changed. Sure, I was still sweating, but I was on a mission. All of us were. We went digging for clues, doing our best to observe the abandoned lab and make sense of the weird paintings on the walls, the lab coats, the key, and even a wacky poem in the cooler. Once inside, I was talking mile a minute and focused, damn it, as that clock ticked down from 60 minutes.
Did we escape in time? We did. Did anyone lose a limb? No. Did I need a huge beer afterwards and a towel to squeegee my armpits? Yup.
It took me some time to calm down and stop looking at the beer mugs at La Cave du Vin as if they meant something, but Heather was right: being Trapped was actually pretty fun. Will I be doing it again soon? Pfft, hell no. What’s the matter with you?
If you’re in my neck of the woods, check out Trapped Cleveland, but I guess these escape rooms are all the rage right now, so there’s probably one in your area, too. Put on your thinking cap, and prepare to move quickly.
Endnote: After several pints, while leaving La Cave du Vin, I noticed they were playing movies on a big projection screen. What movie? Saw. Of course. Eight friends, out for a good time, locked in a small room? Like I said: how horror movies start.