That one time that the Atheist went to the Pearly Gates.


Or, I did an escape room and this is what happened.

So a few weeks ago during game night, we lost power. That’s always a good lead into a story. So we lost power and we were talking about the local escape room, Escape Room RVA. Josh, Ovander and the rest of our usual suspects from game night did it the weekend of Josh and Jodi’s birthday and had a blast (and I skipped out because I suck. In actuality I was just getting settled financially with my  new job, but I also kind of suck), so we were analyzing all of the other escape rooms on their website and decided to go ahead and if nothing else have the three of us commit to it that upcoming weekend. I almost backed out again (this time because I have severe anxiety and had to do thorough research to assure myself that there was nothing to pop out and go BOO, BITCH or that the rooms wouldn’t be super tiny. basically I did a fuck ton of research to make sure that my anxiety wouldn’t flare up. And the website fritzed out on me so that really didn’t help.), but I didn’t and I am really, really glad that I womaned up and committed.

Also I didn’t want Josh to hate me forever and tell me that Gus and I couldn’t be friends anymore. So there you go.

So what exactly am I fucking talking about. Good question, internet. I’m glad I asked that for you. So basically an escape room is as follows. It is a room that is generally themed (specifically all of Escape Room RVA’s are), and you are with a group of people (either friends, or strangers or a combination there of) and you are given a set amount of time to solve all of the clues in the room in order to escape. Sounds simple enough, right?



So, originally we wanted to do the Edgar Allen Poe room. As I am a massive Poe nerd (Fun Fact: The Edgar Allen Poe Museum is a quick 20 minutes from my apartment in historic Shockoe Bottom) I was hyped. HYPED. But then we decided against it. They released a new one at the time called Judgement at the Pearly Gates, and we decided to go ahead with that one. We signed up online, and Josh had a code so we saved about $5, and the cost of admission was originally $25, so it was a decent deal. When you sign up, you also have to read and sign a waiver as well in order to be admitted. The waiver itself is pretty straight forward. Basically you will not hold them liable in the event that you are injured, if you do not finish and solve the room, or if you become susceptible to mental stress and anxiety (yep, that thing I feared). We read and signed the waivers and then counted down until our time and day.

So. I recall Josh specifically telling me that this place was hidden in the back of the shopping center. I recall that. And hidden is an apt word because I drove around twice. I only found it when I got out and started looking. The FAQ on the website specifically requests to not use your cell phone to take pictures or make calls during the room, although I have no idea how you could. Escape Room RVA is in a basement and there is zero cell phone service. Which is good in that that way no one will try to do just that. Josh and Ovander came, we checked in, me other two people in our group and introduced ourselves, and then we waited until they called us.

Pro Tip: They have complimentary water and ice cream in the waiting room. I’m still sad I didn’t get ice cream. Dammit, nervous tummy get it together. Geez.

Once someone came to get us, they walked us to the room, explained the rules and what to do in case we needed a clue (of which we got three), and then we were left with 60 minutes to solve the room.

As you can tell, the goal of our room was to open up the gates and go to heaven. Because we died. We’re dead. Dead dead. Boom.

Our room was particularly difficult, although the clues were pretty clever once we got them. I was impressed that there was a specific story to it, as well and we were trying to learn the story in order to and adjacent to solving it. We had to put things in order in order to figure out the combinations to locks, solve a few riddles, learn the Greek alphabet in ten minutes, figure out secret stowaways, etc.

Spoiler alert: We did not escape. I’m still there, even. I’m using a hotspot on my phone. Netflix reception is particularly poor.

I think we finished with only a handful of clues left, so we were relatively close. It was a blast, and I would love to do it again. It’s definitely an experience I certainly recommend, especially if you’re a puzzles and/or mystery type person.

Someone bring me some take out please and thank you. And a blanket.


2 thoughts on “That one time that the Atheist went to the Pearly Gates.

  1. Any tips you’d be willing to give?
    I’m rather nervous going with my new job and I’d prefer to not freak out and be helpful!
    Sounds like fun but I’m nervous going with coworkers and not friends.


    • Honestly the best advice that I can give you is to just relax, let loose and go forward. Don’t over think it. Touch, and grab everything, read anything and everything, pay attention to everything. What you think has nothing to do with your quest might actually have everything to do. Even if these are not people you would normally hang out with, try to have fun with them and be willing to be casual and work with them, ask everyone questions about what they’re doing, as you never know if it might be connected to what you’re doing and vice versa. Since you’re going with coworkers, I’m sure it’s a team building exercise for you anyway, so go for it. Try to be a better team with these folks and just go head first. The most important thing I can emphasize is to just have fun. While yeah, you want to win and escape, the point is still to have a good time. Personally I have done two so far and haven’t escaped either but I still had a blast with both. That’s really all that matters.


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