Thanks to my last trip of the year delivering on the story front, here’s an early Christmas gift for all of you.
Last night I was in Sioux Falls to close out one part of the projects we have been working on there. To celebrate we went out for a team dinner and a little pre-holiday cheer.
One of our team mates found a super cool, rehabbed warehouse with a craft fair/market type decor for us to patron.
Since we were a larger group, they sat us in their basement area with one other larger group.
Shortly after we sat down, I decided to visit the lady’s room before we got too far into the wine drinking and noshing. I scoped out the downstairs dining room, and in the back corner I spied a heavy-duty metal door, that looked like an outdoor exit door, but that clearly had a “restroom” sign over it.
So off to the far back corner I headed.
I pushed open the door and found myself in another industrial type area that was like a cross of a church basement and outside alleyway on the inside.
I immediately found the men’s room just to the right, but didn’t see a women’s room anywhere in the vicinity. There was an open area just past the men’s room, and several hallways going in multiple directions. I walked around the open area, peeked down the closest hallways, and tried a couple of doors, but didn’t find anything that appeared to be a women’s room.
Since there didn’t seem to be any other human being in sight, and the men’s room was a single-seater, I decided that bathroom had just become unisex, and would do just fine for what I needed.
So I locked myself in, completed my to-do’s, and prepared to head back to join my group.
Except when I pulled on the door I came through, it didn’t move.
I did a quick look around to make sure this was the door I came through, and there wasn’t another twin somewhere nearby.
Nope. This was the door.
I pulled again, thinking maybe I just needed to apply a little more muscle.
Nothing. This door was clearly locked.
Did this fun, funky, warehouse/market restaurant throw in a free escape room experience to the first lucky guest who decided to use the restroom?
I mean, I guess that could be cool, but having not been prepared for this, I wasn’t sure that was how I wanted to spend my evening.
I quickly considered calling my crew and asking someone to rescue me. But contrary to current culture of having your phone permanently affixed to one of your appendages, I actually don’t bring my phone to the bathroom with me on a regular basis. One, because I don’t think any restroom activity needs to be recorded for posterity or social media sharing. And two, I don’t feel the need to discuss holiday plans, dinner recipes or any other vital life matters in the echoing confines of a bathroom stall.
So I had no way to contact anyone on the other side of that door.
Then I spent a few minutes wondering how long it would take for my group to realize I was gone and come looking for me. As much as I like to think I am an essential component of any party or good time, and that my incredible wit and captivating conversational skills are key to any get together, I quickly realized that the entire meal could be completed and it may not be until everyone was looking to depart back to the hotel that they realized their driver was missing.
Well. I guess it was up to me to find a way out of this unexpected situation.
Luckily, I had just watched the new Lara Croft, Tomb Raider on the plane the week before, so I felt well prepared to tackle this challenge!
First, I gave the door one more good shake, jiggling it on its hinges as much as possible. You know, just in case the industrial lock on it was defective and I could pop it by sheer force.
I know you are as shocked as I was that that didn’t work.
So I turned to survey my surroundings.
I know this building used to be some sort of warehouse, and we are in the basement, so I decide, logically, that there may at least be some sort of outside exit down here somewhere. If I could at least get outside, I was sure I could find my way back to the front entrance.
I also know that the staircase we came down, and the front entrance, were to the right of where I was standing now.
So I decide to start with the hallway furthest to the right.
At the very least I’m hoping I’ll find a fire alarm I can pull and invite lots of people to my little escape adventure.
I walk past the men’s room, into that open, rec room type area, and head towards the hall on the right.
Just a couple of steps down the hall, there is a door labeled “Public Staircase” on the left. I pause in front of the door to consider this option. At the very least it looks like it could lead outside. Provided it isn’t locked.
I am just about to test it, when I clearly hear the sounds of people dining and restaurant white noise coming from further down the hall.
I decide to go a little further, on the off-chance there is access back to the restaurant.
I walk literally about 5 more steps, where the hall takes another little jog to the right, and sure enough, a pair of swinging double doors appear in front of me.
The door on the right is propped open, through which I can clearly see wait staff trekking back and forth and further in the distance, a table full of diners.
How did I miss the part where I got to use my shirt as a makeshift tourniquet? Or use my hair pin to secure a jungle vine so I could swing across the big ravine? Or where I cling by my fingernails to a sheer cliff while the ground beneath me tilts and disintegrates?
Did I really watch the Lara Croft training video for nothing??
Because here I was at an exit, less than 50 feet and one right turn from where I started.
I let the restaurant know in my Yelp review that their escape room experience could use some work. But the food got rave reviews.