Katherine had a friend who lived in Malden and they wanted to try something called an escape room and invited me to come along. They had tried to rope in a few more individuals but when this fell through the three of us went to a Swedish themed escape room nearby, Boda Borg. The idea was that with Katherine being a Swedish citizen this might be quite fun. I had never heard of an escape room and quite frankly probably never would have if I hadn’t been invited to one. My brother asked me the night before to explain my plans but not knowing what an escape room was I faltered in this. He asked what happened if I didn’t solve the puzzles in the escape room. I told him I could only assume we all would get locked in and die.
First we made our way into the city, found parking where I wouldn’t be towed (3 blocks away and a twenty minute detour of winding streets) and then we met Katherine’s friend who lived in this super sweet little one room apartment that I likened to a tiny house – just in the city! She was a very bright and friendly individual who seemed excited to bring us both along. We decided we should eat first and headed to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. I wish I remember the name of it but I don’t. It was amazing though – especially for my first taste of Vietnamese cuisine.
From here it was a short walk to this “escape room.” We walked in and the first thing we noticed was a rack of T-shirts that read something like, “Participated in Boda Borg!” I asked if those T-shirts were for people who couldn’t solve the puzzles. Perhaps. This place had a very weird atmosphere – instead of inspiring a competitive spirit it seemed to just encourage people to keep trying. Sorta like an adult participation sticker… This was made all the stranger by the fifty page waiver we had to sign with emergency contacts and everything else. I guess that was for people who tried to eat the puzzle pieces…? I wondered what I got myself into.
We were led into the main corridor and here there were all sorts of closed doors, some with flashing lights, some with solid. We were told the ones with solid lights were ready to be solved, were shown a plate on the wall which told us which theme each room was, and was told that if we solved the puzzle in one room we’d be able to open into the next and when we solved that room we could put a stamp on our card – a souvenir for passing the test. The first room read, “Coach.” OK… we walked in and it was a tiny room that only contained a scoreboard on the wall and some sort of giant contraption in the middle that reminded me of one of those Match the Shape games you give toddlers. At the bottom there were two heavy rubber balls. It took us three or four attempts to solve it (as it was timed and kept beeping us out) before we realized we were supposed to shove our arms in the holes, grab the heavy rubber balls and heft it over a big triangle in the middle to the other side -three times. None of us were athletic or coordinated enough for this and failed… miserably. Over and over. We all decided that we were thankful we were here with friends because it was still fun that way. Had this been one of those bullshit “team building” exercises employed on a company outing we’d all be brandishing shivs by now.
We tried some other rooms. Some were really easy, most were not, and one was covered in spit from the rambunctious children who were clearly dropped here in lieu of a babysitter. We told the guy at the counter, “Uhm, someone hawked a loogie on one of the panels in the Light and Darkness room…” the poor guy there just said, “Ewe” while giving this defeated expression of, “Again?! What is wrong with these kids?!” I immediately felt bad for him.
My favorite room was just called Farm. It involved sitting on eggs (ha! ha!) climbing in animal crates, guessing animal noises, and eventually crawling out of a big outhouse prop… I enjoyed the physicality and humor. Katherine and friend were less than thrilled about the physicality aspect of it, I guess having been to a number of these before this was unusual. “Usually it’s more cerebral! Less killing of knees!” Other rooms were titled things like Rats, Pirates, Quiz Show, Light and Darkness, and Step Up. We spent a number of hours here just going to random rooms. This reminded me a little bit of the Doctor Who episode with the Minotaur who lived in a 1980’s hotel that had a different phobia in every room….
Still I must say the few hours I spent here was a lot of fun! I definitely do it again with the right people. Most of the rooms seemed to be set up for three people which was perfect. We left all a bit more physically pooped out than anyone wanted to admit… I walked back to the apartment and said my good byes before finding my way back to the car. It has been an awesome few days filled with all sorts of interesting people and adventures and I knew I’d already miss it all on the ride back… listening to Beatles music instead of the Gypsy Punk and New Orleans Funk CD’s Katherine had brought with her. (It’s always nice to share psychotically diverse music isn’t it?) By now the migraine I had been pretending wasn’t there all day was beginning to hurt too much to ignore. An hour from home I began to get dizzy and nauseous and I was happy to finally collapse in my bed when I arrived. I knew I’d pay for ignoring the migraine the next day and I did dearly… only thing I accomplished all day was the two blog entries I wrote here before sleeping the day and night away (but even so everything I did was totally worth a little punishment!) I was blessed this morning with no pain except muscle soreness as I went back to my usual life. I feel like my life is bringing me to such new experiances and joys, different positive peoples and places, that it can only get better and better. Historically speaking I’ve been very limited in what I could accomplish because of anxiety and lack of belief in myself but now… now I am only limited by health and finances and I continue to work on both hoping someday I can enjoy life to its fullest. For the first time ever I have this warm and hopeful feeling I will get there… and I will joyfully bring the rest of you along for the journey.
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