A Question Of Escape

So, for those of you who don’t know, I have actually found myself a job that pays actual money to me. After a year of mooching – a period of time much, much longer than originally planned but also bloody lovely – I am now gainfully employed.

And, hold the front page, I’m genuinely enjoying it. Like really emjoying it. Like get up and go to work happy enjoying it.

I know, right? That didn’t happen before.

Basically, I am a games master at an escape room in Huddersfield. It is my job to lock people in a room, and watch them try and escape for an hour. And then reset everything and do it all again.

On the face of it, you’d think it’s going to be pretty boring – after all, you’re just watching people for an hour (or less if they’re super awesome) and nudging them in the right direction. Nudging, I was told by one team last week, is just a polite way of saying they’re too stupid to work the answers out themselves. But that’s not the case. It’s a way of focusing the mind onto a single problem. After all, once that timer hits zero you’re taken away to be executed. So it’s in everyone’s best interests to get out, because it’s a bitch to get the blood off the walls.

But what I have discovered is that every single team is different. Even though they all go into the same room to face the same puzzles, every single time is different. They struggle with things that – to me – are obvious. And not just because I know all the answers. I had to play the room before I got the job. We – the people who applied for the job, thrown together by fate – formed a cohesive unit and got out of there with a couple of minutes to spare.  And we probably tackled things differently to the teams that I have led to victory (or execution).

We – Carole and myself – had been told before, after the rooms we tackled, that we did things in a completely different way to other teams. In the first room we did, we solved a puzzle straight off the bat that most people don’t do until well into the proceedings. Now I get to see that sort of process with my own eyes, and it’s genuinely fascinating. I wish I knew more about the workings of the brain, so I could collate the findings. Why is it easy to solve a certain puzzle, but really difficult to solve another? Why do people naturally want to add up numbers when they’re written in a certain way?

Why? Why? Why?