... Or Paris either, for that matter.
I hadn't been in this particular fast-food joint but once since the remodeling, and then I had been in a hurry, so I didn't fully appreciate how truly awful it is.
Driving by, I had noticed they've replaced the roof with a sort of baby-poop-brown metal, and they dismantled the kidplay area entirely. They didn't seem to know what to do with the fenced-in outdoor area anymore, so they placed a red movie-rental machine in it and left it that way for a long time.
This morning I had a coupon for a free iced mocha, so I decided to grab a couple of to-go sausage biscuits for breakfast while I was there.
The first thing I noticed as I drove up was that the red movie machine now had company. The former playground was now filled with little too-tall dinette sets, the kind at which black-clad, beret-wearing faguets eat baguets, gulp cheap wine, smoke cigarettes, and say things like "neuf" and "mu" and "Life, she is Sheet!" while they recover from a long night of snapping their fingers at black & white movies with subtitles.
Stepping into the place, I took a moment to really take in the atmosphere, and it made me grimace.
Imagine if so-called architect Philip Johnson designed an obstacle course/Habitrail for desperately trend-chasing Hipster Doofii. And, just because he COULD, when working out the color scheme, he drew his inspiration from various dark nuggets of poop.
It seeks to be jaded for the sake of being jaded. Picture Janeanne Garofolo as a fast-food place. The kind of place that makes you wonder "Why must I be so tormented by the sad clown of life?" and you're not being ironic or making fun of the French.
The kind of atmosphere that prohibits being happy while eating a meal there.
Can a design scheme be a psychic vampire? I wondered to myself.
My coupon was good for a free iced mocha, hot mocha, cappucino, or latte. I presented it to the cashier, picked an iced mocha, and ordered two sausage biscuits to go.
The coupon bewildered the cashier. She stretched her arms up, the way a yawning golden lioness arches her back when getting up from a nap, got a confused look on her face, and called her manager over.
"I don't know how to do this!" she exclaimed in a near-panic.
The manager verified that I wanted an iced mocha and entered it into the cash register. Somewhere between there and the mocha machine, the two of them vetoed my drink selection and decided that I really wanted a hot mocha.
I saw them making it and wondered when they were going to put the ice cubes in. They didn't. But at this point, I just wanted to escape the place before it sapped every ounce of happiness out of me like a swarm of Harry Potter's dementors.
By then, trying to straighten out the mess would have been as futile as a quarter-pounder trying to pound quarters flat with a cotton ball.
So I paid my $2.12, gathered up my breakfast, and left, deciding I wouldn't be returning very often. And if I DID, well, that's what drive-through windows are for.
But the bad thing is, St. Patrick's Day is coming up. That means it's the season for those minty green shakes that taste like childhood. I hope the decor doesn't suck all the joy out of those too.
Besides, I have another coupon.