You’re slumped by the Widener Gate on a viciously cold night. There is nothing to look at but the sharp lights left on by Tatte and that glasses store you can never seem to remember the name of. In the distance: blinding headlights reflected on the rain-smeared street recording your deepest anxieties. Who are you, really? What is next? What was before?
If only there were some way to know, some way to be anywhere but here; or some vehicle of the soul to deliver you from imminent existential annihilation.
Some Harvard Shuttle.
And at last, that stunning shuttle comes slouching down Mass. Ave, craving to be born again with you. It is the solution to your woes—travel or otherwise—and as it pulls to a slow stop, you feel yourself identify with the shuttle, nay, identify as a shuttle. This is the verge of absolution: You become the shuttle; It is you. But wait! Which shuttle is it? Which shuttle are you? Which shuttle will you be?
Can’t figure it out on your own? Fifteen Minutes is here to help you. Take this quiz to know thyself and thy shuttle.
1. Everyone who has ridden a shuttle has done a shuttle thing. Shuttle things are true things. They speak to the heart and the little parts of the soul that drift broken in the afterglow of post 2 a.m. motion. Which of these shuttle things have you done?
A. Speed-stumbled to catch the first shuttle on a blurry Sunday morning.
B. Been late and blamed it vaguely on “the shuttle.”
C. Waited for Godot.
D. Became licensed as a Commonwealth Minister by Oliver Cromwell to the joint charge of St. Tida's Church at Ballyscullion, and St. Swithan's Church in Magherafelt.
2. What do you want out of life?
A. I don’t know. Just wait on tables and try to get along.
B. To meet my river friends again.
C. Make the most of it, before it is too late!
D. To lodge at the retreat of Mineral Spring Pond to recover from illness and drink from the famous healing waters of the springs from Spring Pond.
3. What will your last words be?
A. What happened last night?
B. Wait, wait! Hold on! The next one’s in five minutes and my phone’s about to die! Please don’t leave, I need to go home! No! No!
C. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.
D. Three of my brothers (Samuel, Nathaniel and Eleazar) also became ministers.
4. What went down last Thursday night?
A. An Unrecognized Single Gender Social Organization named after a Nocturnal Bird.
B. My friends were having fun without me, a mile away. I hate polar bears.
C. Sleeping, while the others suffered.
D. I was appointed the Rector of Harvard College.
5. Have you ever consumed a truly great pastry? And when you consume this pastry, you satisfy a true and beautiful hunger. And for at least that moment you lose your fear of death. Of course you have. Where do you buy your great pastries?
A. Starbucks. Do not make me apologize!
B. Tatte. It’s the closest cafe to the shuttle stop, and if I can afford 30 minutes of walking every day I can afford a $7 pastry. And, really? You’re using a fake Hemingway quote? Come on FM.
C. The tears of the world.
D. I don’t know anything about pastries, but a portrait of me hangs in the Middle Common Room of Mansfield College, Oxford.
If you answered mostly:
A’s: Overnight. The most “well-traveled” shuttle, you make a stop at every part of Harvard, but you never stay long. Party on!
B’s: Quad Yard Express. A true utilitarian at heart, you jump between Quad and Yard with ruthless efficiency. Your schedule is meticulously organized, and you break down whenever anything puts a wrench in your plans.
C’s: Crimson Cruiser. You wait. You are bored. No, you don't protest, but you are bored to death, there's no denying it. Good. A diversion comes along and what do you do? You let it go to waste.
D’s: Mather Express. You are literally Increase Mather.
You didn’t answer and just scrolled to the end: 1636’er. The peak of commitment issues. No one ever knows where you are. You show up when you want to, and you disappear when you don’t. But really, we’re all like you.
—Magazine writer Luke W. Xu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @duke_of_luke_.