The room is dark, illuminated only by flashes of coloured arcade lights snaking across the ceiling. The instructor is shouting encouragement over crunchy EDM. I’ve never been to a Rise Nation session, but the concept is similar, I assume, to a spin class—only instead of stationary bikes, there are climbing machines that, in the low light, look a little like high-tech easels.
I had booked a climbing machine close to whom I am here to meet and who, I would find out later, had planned on explaining the contraption to me so I wouldn’t feel lost. But now, owing to a fundamental ignorance of Los Angeles’s size and geography and an aggressively lackadaisical taxi driver, I’m late and it’s impossible to see where she is in the laser-tag dark. I hop onto the climber closest to the door and try to get into the rhythm of the class.