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I live pretty close to the McDonalds at 18th & Columbia: The one with the jacked-up speaker system that graces Adams Morgan with an omnipresecent 80’s beat. While I rarely stop in for a Filet-O-Fish, I often appreciate the playlist that blares day and night from the streetcorner: Talking Heads. New Order. Devo. It’s heavy on the New Wave.
I know it as the HipDonalds.
Like all hip things, it’s hard to pin down what gives this McDonalds that special je ne sais quoi. The people running HipDonalds don’t seem hipper than the average McDonalds worker; The people who eat there don’t seem that hip, either. Still, somebody, somewhere, is providing a mean soundtrack. I imagine it’s the building itself: This is the kind of McDonalds that, on a rare off-night, pulls out the Members Only jacket and scams on girls at Cryfest.
Walking past the place last night, however, I heard no “Sledgehammer”; no “Once In A Lifetime”; not even a “Rock Lobster.” Blasting from the HipDonalds were the canned strains of a decidedly calypso rhythm. As I approached, the song became clear: “If you like piña coladas,” the chorus rang out from the HipDonalds. “And getting caught in the rain!”
Yes: HipDonalds was playing Rupert Holmes’ Buffetesque rumination on personal ad placement, “Escape (The Piña Colada Song).”
Which raises the question: Has the HipDonalds discovered irony?