This is from a story “The Winged Thing” by Patricia Lockwood.
It’s about growing up in Ohio. The experience is narrated dull, but the dullness is lethal enough to drive the young girl into the arms of the Internet.
“As a teenager, she had tried to write poetry about the beauty of her surroundings, but her surroundings were so ugly that she had quickly abandoned the project. Why were the trees here so brown, so stunted? Why did the billboards announce “LOOSE, HOT SLOTS?” Why did her mother collect Precious Moments? Why did the birds seem to say “Bur-ger King, Burger-King,” and why, in her most solitary moments did she find herself humming the jingle for the local accident-and-injury lawyer, which was so catchy that it almost seemed to qualify as a disease?
If she had stayed, she might have got addicted to pills, too, she realized. Something about the way the lunch-bag-colored leaves wadded in the gutters in autumn, something about the way the snow stayed long after it was wanted, like wives. Something about the memory of her multiplication table, with its flat, devouring zero at the corner, and that chalk taste on the center of the mouth.
Instead, she just disappeared into the Internet. She had not realized what a close call she had until recently, for now, in the portal, men were coming up through manholes to confess how near they had come to getting radicalized, how they, too, had wandered the sewers of communal thought for days at a time, dry-mouthed and damp under the arms. How they were exposed to the mutagenic glowing sludge just long enough to become perfectly, perfectly, funny, just long enough to grow that all-discerning third eye.”