Apr 5, 2019: Break

One of the things I really enjoy about my job is the fact that some people think it’s okay to just break as much stuff as they can within an hour. They are going to solve the room, no matter what, and aren’t going to let things like furniture or locks stand in their way.

Generally, people are great. And I’m saying that as someone who doesn’t like people all that much. But generally they are great. And occasionally, in the course of normal playing, things will break. And people will apologise for it. And it’s fine.

But every now and again…

I had a game one afternoon where a teenage boy took a run up and launched a flying kick at a plasterboard wall. Luckily, he didn’t go through it. But what the fuck? Who even does that. We don’t go into rooms once the timer starts unless something goes drastically wrong – a lock jams or something like that, or to casually remind players that the sounds they’ve been hearing (and ignoring) for the last five minutes have been repeated sendings of a clue. But I went in that room that afternoon. I was in there like a shot. A really, really pissed off shot.

And then we’ll have drunk teams who break things because they’re barely able to function once in a room, having been holding it together in the same way a fat man may hold in his gut every time he’s in proximity to anyone he fancies. These, for me, fall into the same category of people who pay to go to the cinema just to have a chat for the entire duration of the film. Except they’re only ruining everything for themselves, not everyone around them.

But some poor sap has to put everything back together.

Then you get the people who just manhandle stuff. The ones who were never allowed to hold a bunny rabbit because they squeezed just a little too hard. The ones who finish a room and say, “Oh, this came off. I just touched it.” And you know they haven’t. You know they have bashed at it repeatedly. I had a guy do that to the hasp of a lock once. Just smashed it off, as you would see someone do in a movie using a fire extinguisher or something. It just fell off. The weld just went, you know what, supporting this lock is just too hard.

We have limited time to reset the room before the next game. Because a delay on the next game means less time, which knocks on the delay and you never really catch up unless you get a team who are terrible and move almost nothing that needs to be put back.

Or you just want to go home because it’s nearly 11pm at night and you have better things to do that replace everything, and spend ages turning furniture the right way up. I haven’t had to do that tonight. But I have received a message from my colleague to say that’s how she spent an hour after her final game tonight. Our final team of the day turned a bed over for some reason, despite one of the key parts of the pre-game briefing being “YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MOVE THE FURNITURE AROUND”.

Hey ho.

There’s still stuff that needs sorting – a couple of bits and bobs she couldn’t fix. And a key to find. Plus everything will need a once-over to make sure she hasn’t missed anything because it’s easy to do when you’re faced with a scene of devastation.

This is, hands down, the best and most fun job I’ve ever had. I love it. You meet lovely people from all walks of life. And ninety nine point something percent of the time everyone is brilliant.

But every now and again…

I think I might start adding “Don’t be a dick” to the pre-game briefings.