I love living in the Quad; I wouldn’t want it any other way. However, I regret to admit that sometimes I secretly envy Adams and Quincy residents who live just a few doors down from 14 Plympton St. When I’m in Pfoho and have to get to The Crimson, or at The Crimson and have to get to Pfoho, the distance between those two buildings can seem like much more than 0.7 miles.
In general, I am a huge fan of the Harvard shuttle service — I would be nowhere without the Quad Express, Quad-Yard Express, Quad-SEC Direct, Overnight, Crimson Cruiser, and the 1636’er. Not to mention the wonderful people that drive them. Missing the shuttle, however, is a different kind of heartbreak. Here is a carefully curated playlist of songs to listen to when the Quad-Yard Express pulls away when you are just a few yards away from the door. As an extra bonus and an homage to my Crimson Arts community, all of these songs are featured in one of the many “Shrek” movies:
“Hallelujah” — Rufus Wainwright
“Baby, I’ve been here before.” The first line of Leonard Cohen’s classic heart wrenching ballad resonates as I try to count how many times I’ve missed the shuttle this week. There is nothing more humbling than missing the Quad shuttle. I realize, in somewhat of an epiphany, that no one is looking out for me but me. I didn’t properly account for how much time it would take to get to the shuttle stop, and that is entirely on me. The acoustic melancholy of “Hallelujah” sets the perfect tone as I contemplate how to get home.
“I Need Some Sleep” — Eels
There are many Eels songs featured in the “Shrek” films, and this is a particularly sad one that plays as Shrek wonders if he can fit into Fiona’s world in “Shrek 2.” The title of this song speaks for itself — when it’s midnight and I’m stranded on Mass Ave, 0.7 miles away from my bed, I can’t think about anything but how tired I am.
“Holding Out for a Hero” — Fairy Godmother version
As I watch the shuttle drive into the distance and out of sight, I can’t help but wish that someone — anyone, really, but preferably another bus driver — would materialize to take me back to the Quad. The shuttle drivers are nothing short of heroes. Honorable mention to the synth-pop Frou Frou version of “Holding out for a Hero” featured in the “Shrek 2” credits.
“Changes” — Butterfly Boucher ft. David Bowie
As a Quad resident, you absolutely must be adaptable. Everything will not always go as planned. David Bowie’s classic song “Changes,” featured prominently in “Shrek 2” when Shrek turns into a human — speaks to this: ”Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes / Turn and face the strange.” As I open up the PassioGo app in hopes of another shuttle coming my way, this song reminds me to embrace the unknown. There is beauty in the chaos.
“I’m On My Way” — Richard Price
The emotional rollercoaster of missing the shuttle aligns with the classic stages of grief: denial, as I keep running even as it pulls away from me. Sadness as I wonder why this has happened to me. And eventually acceptance, as I realize I must buck up and get myself home, even if I must walk 20 minutes in the rain. The upbeat whimsy of “I’m On My Way” reminds me that living in the Quad is about the journey, not the destination. I’ll get there, one way or another. There’s always a way back to the Quad.
—Outgoing Arts Chair Jaden S. Thompson unironically owns the soundtrack of the first “Shrek” film on vinyl, and periodically listens to it. She can be found in Pfoho during her last semester at Harvard, where she will continue to defend the Quad.
Read more in ArtsTop 10 Cultural Moments of 2022