Pandemic: Real Talk

Well, we’ve made it to what I think is day 679543 of quarantine. Well, in actuality, I have no idea what day of quarantine it is because it seems like all the days just seem to muddle together. And that is complete and utter honesty.

Does anyone actually know what day of quarantine we are in? Or what month it is? Or what day it is?

If my calculations are correct, I believe it is Monday, April 27th of the year 2020, but I could use a confirmation from another individual or two just to be sure.

Well, before we get down to business, I will start with the below message that I’ve been re-iterating each week since the pandemic began.

My heart goes out to those who have passed away from this virus. My heart goes out to all of those who are currently suffering and fighting to get well. My heart goes out to everyone who has been directly and indirectly affected by this virus. My heart goes out to all people who are working the front lines to restore health and well-being to the world around us. My heart goes out to all of us who are working to navigate the unknown on the daily with feelings of anxiety and despair.

In last week’s post, I shared some very personal stories and rapid fire facts that I had not shared with the public before. My thoughts seemed to be random and all over the place because I just wanted to write what I was feeling in the moment…raw and from the heart.

And…sorry not sorry…it’s going to happen again with this week’s post.

Are you ready? Do you have your morning coffee in hand? Well, please put your arms and legs inside the car because this train is about to leave the station at FULL speed.

Can you tell I like roller coasters? They are something that I can’t wait to ride again at Hershey Park, especially The Great Bear. One can only hope that it will happen at some point this year.

But I digress.

Before this pandemic started, I was a single, gay man living in Lancaster.

And now, I’m a single, gay man living in Lancaster trying to navigate my way through a pandemic on the daily. Just like you. Just like the whole world. These days, opening the front door to go outside seems more foreign than ever before and shopping online for groceries seems to have replaced the typical shopping sprees for new clothes or the newest candle scent from Bath and Body Works.

So, here are some rapid fire feelings about what I feel, how I react, what I’m going though and what I’ve gone through since this pandemic began.

1. I’ve actually taken stock of how many DVD’s I own because I now have time to watch them all. And I have over 100 because I got tired once I got to that number when counting. If you follow my Instagram or Facebook stories, you will notice that I’ve chronicled a few of the ones I’ve already watched thus far.

2. I’ve discovered crevices in spots of the house that I never knew existed before because having off from work every other week makes me a crazy person with cleaning. There are spots in my house that I don’t think have been cleaned in the 3 1/2 years that I’ve lived in this house and that has now changed…finally. Mmmbyeee.

3. I’ve found out how to embrace technology in new ways with communicating via Zoom, HouseParty, and FaceTime. Would you believe that before this pandemic, I hadn’t used FaceTime? Well, believes it. I’m pretty sure that is 99.99% true.

4. I’ve learned that stuffed animals will be extremely loyal to you for squeezing when you are feeling sad because not all of us have a person or animal that they are quarantined with. Mr. Snuggles the hippo has come through for me in some dark moments.

5. This one might make me sound like a crazy person, but this week’s blog involves rapid fire facts where I’m holding nothing back. I cry at least once a week in the evening trying to grasp with the fact that everything will probably never be the same again.

6. I crunch numbers of both my checking and savings account 2, 3, sometimes even 5 times in a day just to make sure that there is enough for me to put food on the table and pay the bills that need paid. And even though I’m still able to work (on a reduced hour schedule), it is a very scary reality that I worry about even when I go to bed at night somedays. I never had filed for unemployment before in my life and it was a process that was confusing and foreign to me. I’m sure money worries and long-term finances are something that each and every one of us is stressing about in some way, shape, or form.

7. Some days, I break down in tears because I feel like some of humanity has lost their sense of compassion, empathy, love, and kindness. It’s like they curled it up in a ball and threw it out the window. It is disheartening and hurts my soul so much. Words in a blog really can’t describe the feeling I go through seeing this through facets of the news, social media, customer interactions, etc. But it hurts. A lot. If I had to try and describe what it feels like, I would have to say that it’s like getting sucker punched right in the stomach ten times over. And each time, I feel like the fire inside of me fades a little. But mark my words…

I will combat this feeling with an even greater passion to change the world in 2021 and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone including COVID-19 stop me.

8. I struggle with the fact that I might not step foot into the office building of my full time job again for an indefinite amount of time. While working from home is something that I’ve learned to adapt to over the past two months (and something I’m extremely grateful for), it is also something that I really struggle with because I miss so many things. I miss my phone where I can chat with my customers and hear their voices. I miss seeing the faces and feeling the exciting energy from my coworkers that I love dearly. I miss seeing Chef Greg and Chef Larry who always have a smile to share with every single person. The sombering reality that the office life will be forever changed is one that hasn’t quite sunk in for me yet.

9. And while most of you already know this because I’ve mentioned it a gazillion times before…it hurts me to not be able to hug those that I love most.

But throughout the breakdowns of tears and moments of worry, I remind myself of one thing:

Begin each day with a grateful heart.

I have so much to be grateful for: my health, a roof over my head, loving family, amazing friends, jobs that give me the ability to still be working, food on the table to help keep my strength up, a church community that helps me to keep my faith strong during times of unknown, and so many other wonderful blessings.

We have to help each other through this. We have to remember to lean on family and friends when we are struggling.

We have to remember to love each other. We have to remember to show kindness to each other.

We are all struggling.

We all have our moments.

And the next time when you are feeling those moments, remember to do something for yourself that makes YOU feel good inside…something that helps YOU reset…something that helps YOU keep the flame inside your soul burning.

I personally have found that dancing to Katy Perry in my living room and watching episodes of The Golden Girls proves effective…

…and eating ice cream straight from the container.

But you probably already knew these things. Not breaking news I know.

Well, there you have it. Mr. Sunshine–a single, gay man living in Lancaster trying to navigate a pandemic.




And crying some more.

With a dash of Golden Girls and ice cream in between.

That’s all I have for you this week, folks.

Thanks for joining me on this week’s ride. We have now officially returned to the station when you can now exit the car safely and fill up your coffee mugs with more caffeine.

Until we meet again in one week.

Stay safe and healthy and don’t forget to be kind always.

And don’t forget to take a few moments to thank those frontline workers who are defending COVID-19 all across the world to restore health and wellness to all.

Sprinkle sunshine always,


P.S.-For those who read last week’s post about my magazine stealing incident, here is a little bonus for you. Below is the image of the magazine cover that I stole that fateful night at the local Weis Markets: