Me, Lee and the Palm Springs escape room

What is up my beauties? I have had a very busy last few weeks. I recently went to Palm Springs to visit one of my best friends of more than 30 years, Lee. Lee was the very first friend I made the first time I ever went to a gay club. That club was The Wave on Maple Avenue, and it was awesome. It had a dance floor, an arcade room with pool tables and video games, a swimming pool and a sand volleyball court.

I actually was not old enough to get into The Wave the first time I went; I was only 17. So, I did what any determined homosexual would do: I snuck in.

I had a girl that I worked with at General Cinema drop me off on the toll road, and then I climbed the 20-foot fence and jumped my gay ass onto the sand volleyball court. Yes, there was barbed wire, and yes, I cut myself. I still have a scar on my leg to remember my first time in a gay bar.

Once inside the club I just walked in like I owned the place. Grabbed a napkin to clean my bloody leg and started dancing on the dance floor. I even remember the first song I danced to that night: “Everybody Everybody” by Black Box. A few minutes later I met Lee.

We were immediately attracted to each other. We danced and played volleyball all night. They literally had to kick us out when they closed because we would have hung out all night.

When my ride was screaming for me to leave, Lee and I exchanged phone numbers and made plans to meet at Lee Park that Sunday afternoon to play volleyball again. Then we kissed — and immediately knew that we were sisters and not lovers.

From that moment on we were best friends and did just about everything together. We were roommates off and on for years. We were there for one another during really awful times. We fought and argued, but we always came back to each other. That is what best friends do.

Then I met Jamie and moved to Midlothian, and Lee and I didn’t hang out as much. Then, about 14 years ago, he moved to Palm Springs.

We drifted apart but would text or call each other every other month or so. This year for my birthday, he sent me a card with a note that said he is worried about his health and hopes we can see each other before he dies. He has had heart issues for a while now, so it got me thinking the worst.

Jamie told me I needed to go visit him soon, so I did. We had a great time together. We reconnected very easily and talked as though no time had passed. There is something so nice about talking to someone that has known you for so long. It was a short visit, but I am so glad I was able to go. Palm Springs really is lovely.

One of the things he wanted to do while I was there was to go to an escape room. I love escape rooms, but I was worried that we were gonna die. It was a Titanic-themed escape room, so I guess I was worried about drowning.

The premise of the room was that you are on the Titanic, and you have one hour before the ship sinks. The video they show you before it starts explains that there is a lifeboat hidden away in the captains quarters that is just for the Royals, should they ever take a cruise. You have to solve all of these different puzzles to figure out where the lifeboat is located.

We did pretty good, although we did have to ask for a clue once when we got stuck on something so obvious. Overthinking can be your enemy in an escape room.

The tension keeps building as the clock counts down, with the sounds of the ship breaking apart and the screams of people somewhere in the distance. My blood pressure was going through the roof. When we had about nine minutes left, we figure out that the lifeboat is behind this big door that has a huge key to unlock it. The door has dials on it, and each one has to be turned to the correct numbers. You get the numbers from previous puzzles.

We turn the dials to the numbers we come up with, turn the key and pull. It doesn’t open. The bottom of the door is loose, but the top of the door won’t budge. I think that means the top number isn’t right, so we frantically try to figure out what we did wrong.

The clock is ticking away, and we now only have three minutes til death. We recalculate and keep coming up with the number 18.

But 18 isn’t working. We try a few other variables, but the stress is building, and your brain is in overload. We are freaking the fuck out, I don’t wanna drown!

Yes, I know it is fake, but we are in it to win it and take the whole thing way too seriously.

Sidenote: Lee and I both need to wear readers to see small print. His dumb butt forgot his glasses, so we are having to share one pair of cheap ass readers that I had in my pocket. That made us both feel stupid and old: “Hurry up, I need the glasses now! … Give them back; I can’t see!”

We felt like Mr. Magoo, only gayer.

The timer ran out, and we failed. Game-wise, we are at the bottom of the ocean…dead.

Then the Gamemaster — this little bitchy, young queen — comes into the room and says, “Sorry, ya died.”

I asked what we did wrong, what was the top number. He said it was 18, but he said it like, “you fucking idiot.” I screamed at him that we had it on 18 and the fucking door wouldn’t open. He goes over to the door, and it is on 18. He pulls and the door does not open.

Then he wiggles the first knob and says, “Oh yeah, sometimes this one sticks a little.”

I was like, what the fuck! So we technically solved it with nine minutes left. He says, “Nope you still woulda died,” as he opens the door and shows us the letter attached to the wall. Basically, it said, “Hi, it’s the captain, and I beat you to this lifeboat. Have fun drowning!”

I was so pissed! False advertisement! It was a No Escape room.

Oh well, at least we died together.

That trip made one thing perfectly clear to me: Your quality of life is only as good as the friends you have in your life — friends that get you out of the house, and out of your head. I am so thankful for my chosen family — my framily if you will. Tomorrow is never promised, so cherish them today.

Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova