Not an experience everyone gets to have – a shady plumber hired us to fix the pipes in an abandoned haunted hotel. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to do this? Everything started fine as we were in the hotel's hallway working on the pipes in an exposed wall. There were a lot of creepy crawlers around, but nothing we couldn't handle. Unfortunately, after we finished with those pipes, we had to go down to the basement to work on the other ones. Basements can be pretty scary in abandoned, haunted hotels, especially when they are completely dark and you don't have a working flashlight.

The basement was pitch black, so we ended up having to feel our way around the pipes, moving past the creepy crawlers and rats that joined us. We were able to gain access to a utility closet at one point but found that we had to move some dials based on the number of different shapes on the wall in the closet. We'd learned from previous adventures that it is essential to clarify how each person defines the topic of discussion to effectively communicate (especially in the dark places we often find ourselves in). So, in this case, we gathered around the dials and came up with common terms for the shapes; for example, one felt like it was in the form of a drop of water to one individual and the shape of fire to another. So we went through the six shapes, coming up with a common name for each of them, then one escapelete went to the closet, felt around for the shapes, and told the other which raised number to set that shape at. After the dials were appropriately positioned, the lights came on, and we were able to escape the haunted hotel with our lives.

We were glad that we could bring our previous learning into this experience to make it more effective. We have learned in life (and on our adventures) that it can be frustrating when you're trying to communicate with another individual and it seems like you're talking about different things. However, once you step back to explain how you see or define what you are talking about, it becomes clear that you're talking about the same thing. Something to consider next time you're having a frustrating conversation with someone – do you need to step back to share each other's perspectives? You might just be arguing about the same thing.

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