During the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (a truly awful affront to die hard Trekkies in the opinion of my husband, and I whole-heartedly concur) there is an episode where Picard and his crew find themselves saddled with the descendants of a group of space colonists after their planet is threatened with solar flares. They come to discover that the expedition that founded this colony had a sister ship that was lost, leading Picard to search for them in hopes of finding a new home for these refugees who are now setting out to settle one of the Enterprise’s landing bays. His search leads them to a planet of clones, descendants, of sorts, of the missing second ship and it’s occupants. The clones are suffering from “replicative fading” and will die out without fresh DNA infusions into their society which they try to unsuccessfully steal from the Enterprise crew. At the end of the episode, Picard unites the long separated groups after realizing that each can help the other with their problems. The first group by “loaning” their DNA through reproduction, and the second by offering a new planet to settle on. What I remember the most about this episode is the scene at the very end when it is revealed that the women in both groups will have to engage in polygamous marriages in order to keep inbreeding at bay. Reverse polygamy by the way, not the kind that is so often forced upon females by religious groups as man and harem, but a woman with multiple husbands.
This episode came to mind when I was reviewing my present situation. I am a polygamist. I am Rob’s wife, and I am the house’s wife. I know for a fact that I find the former more satisfying than the latter. My relationship with Rob is a give and take, whereas the house takes. Oh, I know that some would argue the house gives too….in its own way. Shelter. Warmth. Safety. But does it have a choice really? What it takes in time, sweat, and Rob…. from me doesn’t make it’s contributions seem as great. In some ways, Rob is more of the house’s bitch than I am. Where it expects near constant cleaning from me, it demands structural upkeep from him that can be downright hazardous. Tonight for example he is replacing the back landing. Masonry needed to be removed as well as framing and floor. While the house passively observes, Rob saws and hammers, dodging exposed nails and his own efforts too judging from the ripped shirt and the bruised elbow he is confident will bring much by way of sympathy and consolation later on. Ah, to be known so well already.
I think the house suspects I don’t love it as much as I do Rob. It was an arranged marriage after all, not the love match Rob and I have. I guess it would be hard to live with the knowledge you will always be second best. Still I do my best to give the house what it needs. It should feel better knowing that I clean it more than I ever cleaned the last house I lived in. Truthfully, I have had a deep fondness for this place from the first night I walked in. Disorganized and in as much need of purging as where I was living at the time, it still said “home” to me and welcomed me. Ghosts and all, I knew I would love this place and I do. But like any polygamist, I have my favorite mate and the house will just have to learn to adjust.