A Conversation Amongst Me, Taylor Swift, and Langston Hughes, About Being 22


Editor’s note: You might want to read Theme for English B and listen to 22 before continuing but you still might not get it.

Me: Hi guys, thanks for coming. I have gathered you here today because you both have produced notable works about what your life was like when you were 22 years old. I’m 22 now and I have yet to produce anything notable or work-related. Do you have any advice?

Langston Hughes, eloquently: Go home and write a page tonight. And let that page come out of you — Then, it will be true.

Me: I am not sure I could write a whole page. A tweet, maybe? I have a pretty short attention span. Is a page all it takes for me to make something out of my 22nd year? Can a page go viral?? Time is running out, L-Boogie. I’m pretty worried.

Taylor Swift, while spinning around in a poufy dress: Everything will be alright if you keep me next to you.

Me: Taylor, I have loans. I can’t buy a mansion on the Cape.

Langston, thoughtfully: I wonder if it’s that simple?

Me: What, buying a house to keep her next to me? There are easier ways, Langston. Have you ever heard of FaceTime? Tay, maybe we should go out tonight, and you can teach me the essence of twenty-two-ness. What are you in the mood for?

Taylor, giggling: It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters…

Me: Are pajamas ok, then? Do I need to put in my contacts?

Taylor, mockingly: And make fun of our exes.

Me: I don’t really have any exes. There’s this guy who broke my prolonged eye contact on the subway this morning once the Q went above ground and he could get back on Twitter. I don’t know. It was important that he knew about the new Royal Baby, I guess. Anyway, that’s not my business. Making fun of people seems sort of cruel, Taylor.

Taylor, tauntingly: Uh uh, uh uh.

Me: Oooook… Maybe I’m too old to hang out? 22 going on 25, nahmean? I’m just maturing really rapidly, I guess. I’m buying red wine. I don’t even know if I’m an average 22 year old. My guilty pleasure celebrity crush is Alec Baldwin, and not even the young version. What do you guys like to do for fun?

Langston, gently: Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.

Me: Wow, Langston. That’s really, actually quite touching.

Langston, powerfully: I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.

Me: Same!! Life is about the simple things, you know?

Langston, slyly: I like a pipe for a Christmas present, or records — Bessie, bop, or Bach.

Me: Langston, can you chill??? What are you, K-Mart? We have four months until Christmas. Taylor, what are you doing when you find yourself having the most fun?

Taylor, vivaciously: Dancing like we’re 22.

Me: I don’t know what that means.

Taylor, loudly: UH UH, UH UH.

Me: OK, not really getting anywhere. How would you guys describe 22-year-olds? I feel like we’re in a weird position — too old to fuck up as much as we used to, too young to have everything together. I think I’ve grown a lot this year — I got a domestic partnership in January so my boyfriend could get on my health insurance, and it felt really cool to be, like, a provider and responsible for someone. I also had a lot of personal bests: I took my first solo international trip, and I didn’t barf on the subway once! But I also feel like I should be doing more, just really listening to Drake and remember that You Only Live Once. I’ve never been to the Met, which, like, is totally a New York institution, and I shouldn’t be paying all this rent to live here if I’m not going to partake in the city. You know where I go a lot? Rite-Aid. And I don’t even always remember to use my membership card. I just feel like I should be doing better. What do you guys think??

Langston, wisely: It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me at twenty-two, my age.

Me: That’s true, I guess. We are totally different people. I didn’t get into Columbia.

Taylor, enthusiastically: We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way.

Me: Taylor, that’s actually a pretty good way of putting it. I am happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way. That’s 22 in a nutshell.

Taylor, softly: It’s miserable and magical.

Me: Excellent use of alliteration, Taylor. Anyway, this was great! I feel really refreshed. Totally gonna go home tonight and write a page while wearing, like, a chambray button down and a top knot. Before we go, do you guys have any comments for each other? Langston, anything for Taylor?

Langston, bluntly: You are white…


Taylor, defensively: You don’t know about me.

Langston, hastily: …yet a part of me, as I am a part of you. That’s American.

Me: OK, sure. I guess we all are part of each other, melded together in our country’s melting pot. Not sure why you had to bring race into this, though. Maybe let’s lay off the race bit, though? It just doesn’t seem super relevant at the moment. Anything else?

Langston, to Taylor: As I learn from you, I guess you learn from me — although you’re older — and white —


Langston, continuing: And somewhat more free.

Me: Damn. Dropping truth bombs. I can’t even be mad. OK. Taylor, anything for Langston?

Taylor, intensely: It seems like one of those nights…. This place is too crowded…

Me: Oooookay..? Tay, it’s just me, you, and Langston. Are you trying to kick me out?

Taylor, to Langston: It feels like one of those nights… we won’t be sleeping…

Me: I’m gonna go.