“When this all passes and it's all done with, I can't wait to get out to the bars again and the clubs and turn into a wild person.”

-Nick Karras, Window-washing gardener, on his plans for the end of pandemic

His work kept him outside.

And his social life kept him out on the town.

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But because of the pandemic, one of those had to go.

And now Nick Karras, a window-washing gardener in Bradenton, is leaning on a humorous outlook on life as he waits for the end of the pandemic to reunite with his wide social circle.

He describes his window washing and yard work duties as “anything unglamorous,” with a laugh.

He is a Chicago native, moving to Florida as a young person—first to Ft. Lauderdale and then to Bradenton.

He keeps various plants in various states of health — they line his carport and surround his home.

Blackberry bushes, pothos crawling vines, jasmine shrubs, Birds-of-Paradise and Australian umbrella plants. Except for his beloved blackberry bushes, it’s not so important what these plants are, just that they live.

He hones in on the forlorn sales racks with dying plants at stores.

He takes plants people throw away or want him to pull out.

It’s been solitary, this pandemic.

He refers to himself as a super extrovert. But he’s holding strong.

And he’s grateful his work outside has more or less continued.

“When Coronavirus started up, I noticed right away that some of the businesses locked their doors, it was hard to even get in touch with them,” explained Karras about last March.  “Some of them, sadly, went out of business. I see a lot of empty stores around, but the majority of them are there, and my business hasn't changed that much. I'm still taking care of them.”

And while Karras is avoiding large, indoor gatherings, and he has been able to continue his bowling league.

“We've just pretty much distanced ourselves bowling league-wise as far as everything else,” said Karras. “I go to the mall. I walked around, and I've been fine.”

His biggest wishes…to dance on a bar and to never need to wear a mask again.

For the last year, Virginia Johnson has been talking to people in the Tampa Bay area about Life in the Time of Coronavirus. You can see more of these stories here.