A Tour of Madison Through the Eyes of the Metro
- Article by Cliff G
- October 8, 2013
The Madison Metro is a culture and a network. For better or worse, the best way to get to know your city, and the people in it, is by swallowing your pride and taking a ride on the Metro. Luckily, it’s cheap.
North Transfer Point
We’ll start our tour of Madison at the North Transfer Point around 9 or 10 a.m. By the time you sit down to wait for your bus on a bench overlooking the ravishing backside of the Oscar Mayer factory, you’ve probably already been asked for cigarettes and/or weed. If you’ve graciously given up your personal belongs, the person will then ask you for “bus fare.” Don’t make this mistake. You should know that this person is going to take your dollar and use it to buy Ho Hos at the Mobil down the street.
As soon as you walk onto the bus, everyone will look at you like they want you dead. They probably do. This isn’t the only good excuse you need to sit in the back of the bus. There will also be someone playing Chief Keef or Rich Homie Quan on full volume on their shitty Nokia cellphone speakers. If you appreciate music, this is the place to be.
After the bus leaves the parking lot, someone will pull the rope to get off at the first stop, which is about 50 feet away from the Transfer Point. This is your opportunity to see that beautiful empty parking lot. Next, the bus passes the train 85% covered in GD and LKN tags.
A nice couple will get on the bus outside River’s Edge apartments. They will hold hands and sit in complete silence as if they are surviving a life or death situation. These people work at a UW building, and ride the bus because it’s the socially conscious thing to do. They prefer to leave their Honda at home.
Then the route gets closer to the downtown and campus area. At the Gorham and Ingersoll intersection the bus drivers change and have a nice 5-minute chat over a Newport. A man with a backpack that smells like dick cheese and old rutabaga will also get on. He gets off at James Madison Park and cracks a nice cold Mountain Creek, available at your local Wisconsin corner store at $2.50 for a 6 pack. If you have some time, get off and ask him if you can join. James Madison is a beautiful park and syringe-ridden beach, plus if he doesn’t stab you, you’ll get a beer out of it.
When the bus reaches the cusp of the campus area, there is a sharp transition in bus clientele from complete ratchets, to girls with big sunglasses, and Sketcher-wearing bikers. A typical route might then go up and around the square where the capitol workers, lawyers and bankers, can be seen hugging each other around in the street. They wouldn’t be caught dead on the Metro. Take a moment to gaze at the beautiful State Capitol, since you can’t really go there on foot unless you want to be hounded by liberals who refuse to work, and conservatives who think you ruined the economy.
The wandering 6’9” wildebeest wearing camo short shorts and a sleeveless Harley shirt would love to talk to you. Another man, known as “The Professor,” will try to teach you a life lesson. He hates everyone born after 1980 and is most likely a serial killer. If you’re lucky, he’ll ask if he can take pictures of your head while you smoke a cigarette.
UW students start to crowd onto the bus starting on State Street. This is when people stop looking at each other and unwaveringly stare at their cell phones. They also think the back of the bus is where the gang members sit, and since they have 350 followers, they tweet about it - #buslife. Take this opportunity to look at all the nice high-rise student apartments that your parents can’t afford. Make friends with someone that walks from there, because if you play your cards right you may get to drink in their nice apartment.
Once the students get off, the west siders start to get on. They need to get back to the suburbs, because the nanny has to leave in one hour. They wear tight khakis and tuck their button down shirts in. Eventually the “King of the Bus Route” will enter the scene. He will usually get on just west of the West Towne Mall and it should be obvious when he arrives. The King will make sure that every single person on the ride hears all that he has to say about his new mixtape. He will be wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch shirt, fake True Religion jeans with no belt, and Jordan Flights. Do not intimidate this man; he’s probably better than you.
While you’re on this route you can observe all the nice stores that you will not be able to afford to shop at. If you’re a young woman, you might be able to find a sugar daddy. If you’re a young man, look for a cougar. These westsiders have money, and since they’re riding the bus they probably don’t really know what to do with it.
Finally, you will arrive at the West Transfer Point where your hopes and dreams can be carried out, and you can reflect on your journey through the different shades of Madison.
Long live the Metro, the only place where you can observe the city while seeing the stereotypical truth in everyone who rides.