Um, is that you honey?

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Love in the Time Cholera is my current subway companion. As I made my way from Greenpoint to Long Island City to Midtown Manhattan this morning I read the following passage:

The hotel was a colonial palace that had seen better days, and its great marble salons and rooms were divided into plasterboard cubicles with peepholes, which were rented out as much for watching as for doing. There was talk of busybodies who has their eyes poked out with knitting needles, of a man who recognized his own wife as the woman he was spying on, of well-bred gentleman who came disguised as tarts to forget who they were with the boatswains on shore leave, and of so many other misadventures of observers and observed that the mere idea of going into the next room terrified Florentino Ariza. And so Loratio Thugut could never persuade him that watching and letting himself be watched were the refinements of European princes.

It’s the bold phrase that felt most poignant as I read the following fourth most emailed article on Yahoo! News today:

“What are you doing here? – man asks wife at brothel”

WARSAW (Reuters) – A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment’s employees. Polish tabloid Super Express said the woman had been making some extra money on the side while telling her husband she worked at a store in a nearby town.

“I was dumfounded. I thought I was dreaming,” the husband told the newspaper Wednesday.

The couple, married for 14 years, are now divorcing, the newspaper reported.

(Writing by Chris Borowski, Editing by Matthew Jones)

Who says literature has no place in today’s society?

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