Fire Island's noted absence of Domino's, 24 hour convenience stores and strip clubs has made me realize that, unfortunately, this cannot afford its visitors all the luxuries of the mainland.
However, beyond the obvious there exists an entirely separate layer of absenteeism that plagues this island and inhibits the smooth sailing of stereotypical island life.
To the locals, these “things” are simply a part of everyday life on Fire Island…as they have been since the beginning of time (“if it's broken, let's kind of fix it”, serves as the local motto).
Exhibit A: emptying out each building's septic tank to prevent the overflow of feces into the streets (this is to be interpreted literally).
After moving six concrete slabs weighing somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred pounds apiece, the glory that is the septic tank was finally exposed.
We spent hours literally shoveling shit out of the ground onto what has become known as the “poop garden” (its exact location is confidential).
Why did we do this? Well apparently on Fire Island when too many toilet flushes are accumulated, the waste in the ground makes its way up onto the surface – flooding the sidewalks in a river of human excrement.
The bar down the street (Flynn's) has a reputation for having some of the most rancid and repulsive bathrooms on the island, and the aforementioned river can commonly be spotted in front of the establishment.
How do we manage to avoid such epidemics? Quite simply really: porta potties and the golden rule – if it's yellow, let it mellow.