This morning, as soon as I got to work, I sent an e-mail to my manager, requesting Monday off. He granted it immediately. So I have a 4-day weekend. I also e-mailed the Commercial Appeal and told them I’m taking a week off from Deal of the Week on Sunday.

I need the time off. I want 4 days without any obligations or responsibilities. I am exhausted.

I think I began to realize how worn out I am when I came home from the Mpact event Wednesday night, and wrote about it in my personal journal: “I went in there with an agenda. I approached key people and talked to them about Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis and handed them cards. In that respect I was successful. But I didn’t have fun. I used to go to After Hours and look forward to meeting new people and talking and laughing. I didn’t do that tonight.”

I realized that most of this month has been like that. And I don’t regret any of it. We’ve made incredible progress with RSDM – getting a website up, meeting with the police, doing TV interviews, receiving invitations to speak at meetings. But now I’m worn out and need a break.

It’s not just RSDM. It’s all the other little things I need to get done. As of yesterday I still hadn’t renewed my car tags. So I drove out to the CarreFour center at Poplar and Kirby, in the center with Borders bookstore, where I’ve always had good luck renewing my tags in the past. What I found was an empty office, with a note on the door that it had moved 2 miles further to the east.

I realized there was no way I could drive even farther out, get the renewal done, and still make it back to Midtown in my lunch hour. So I said to myself, screw it, I’ll do it tomorrow, still one day left in the month. I took my laptop and headed into Borders. I fired it up, ordered a drink, and sat down.

Then I discovered that Borders no longer offers free Wi-Fi. They now charge for it, using the same system that Starbucks does. So I had just wasted four bucks on a drink and couldn’t connect. My lunch hour was a complete waste.

Later in the afternoon, the guy who cuts my hair called. He had his floors waxed recently and they had taken apart his computer system. He asked if I could come out after work and put everything back together. He and I trade out – he cuts my hair for free and I provide computer consulting for free. Over the past year, I have come out way ahead on the deal – I’ve needed haircuts far more often than he has needed computer work. So when he said he really needed his computer to be set up in time for Trolley Tour, how could I say no? I owe him. Besides, I thought, hooking up a computer system isn’t hard.

Not long after that, a reporter from ABC 24 contacted me about doing an interview about RSDM, to be run on the air that night. They literally wanted me to drop what I was doing and meet for an interview. Fortunately Mike was less busy and was able to take that one.

After work, I went out to set up the computer system. What I found was a box of assorted equipment and wires lying on the floor. Some of it was part of the computer system, some of it was not. It took 10 minutes just to untangle all the wires. Now, the basics – keyboard, monitor, printer – were no trouble to get set up once I found the cables. But the DSL was a problem. I don’t have DSL at home – I have cable – so I’m not familiar with setting it up. A new installation, with the equipment right out of the box, and an instruction manual, I’m sure I could do that. But a box full of random equipment – including several extra phone jacks thrown in the box that may or may not be part of the DSL setup – that’s more of a challenge.

So I finally took a guess at which parts were involved in the DSL system and pulled them from the box. Right about then this woman who was the hair stylist’s next customer plopped down in the computer chair. “Mind if I sit here to make a phone call?” Geez. It was obvious I was putting the computer system together, and you’d think I just might need access to the front of the computer! So I stood there for about 5 minutes waiting for her to finish her call. Finally she looked up and asked, “Oh, am I in your way?” Hey, ya THINK?

So I attempted a couple of DSL configurations, neither of which worked. Then I tried to plug the phone back in so the salon wouldn’t miss any appointment calls. That didn’t work either. I tried to get someone to help me – but the hair stylist had a customer, his assistant was busy sweeping up, an artist was sitting in a corner working on a painting, a woman was getting her nails done in a different part of the shop, and back in the back a couple of people were looking at some women’s clothing items being sold there. It was chaos.

Finally I got the hair stylist’s attention and he asked how I was doing. “I gotta be honest with you, I can’t figure out what any of this stuff is,” pointing to the box of tangled wires and equipment.

“Typical computer guy!” said the woman with the cell phone. I wanted to strangle her.

Finally I got the basics hooked up – no DSL though – and he thanked me and I left. I drove home. All right, I thought, I’ve got an hour to relax and get in a better state of mind, then I’ll hit the Peabody rooftop.

Then the fire alarm in my building went off. So I got to walk down 13 flights of stairs and wait 25 minutes for the fire department to determine it was a false alarm. A friend of mine who is an accountant, who had an appointment with someone in the building, walked up. He’s a great guy and usually I’m happy to see him. But I was so worn out, my mindset was, “Great, one more person I have to talk to.” My voice was cracking as I talked. I sounded like a 14-year-old boy.

Finally they let us back up. I got on the computer, answered a few e-mails, drank some water.

Then the fire alarm went off again. This time I didn’t even bother going down. If I die, I die, I thought. So I sat there and listened to that damn siren for 20 minutes.

By then it was 8:00. My nerves were fried. I didn’t even attempt the Peabody rooftop. I just wanted to go sit in the Tap Room and drink a beer. Some girls in tube tops walked by. I thought, those are the girls I would’ve talked to if I hadn’t had such a crappy day.

My mood actually improved once I was at the Tap Room. It’s one of those places I can always depend on. The bartender welcomed me back (it’s been a while since I’ve been there), and some friends came in and I talked with them. I snapped the pic of myself at the bar. Mike called and said the interview came off really well on TV.

So now it’s lunchtime today. I decided that I just don’t have it in me to go to the vehicle renewal place and stand in that long line. Screw it. I’ll renew the tags on Wednesday and just not drive the car between this afternoon and then. If I get pulled over by a cop Wednesday morning on the way to work for expired tags, so be it. Surely they’re lenient the first few days of the month on that kind of thing. Not sure if I’ll have to pay some kind of penalty for renewing late. If that’s the case, again, so be it. But it’s not happening today.

So, here’s the plan for this weekend. I’ll be at Trolley Tour tonight. I’m going by myself. If I find a group of people I feel like hanging out with, great. If I end up hanging out by myself all night, that’s fine too. Maybe I’ll jump from group to group. But I’m going to do what I want, all weekend, without obligations or responsibilities. I’ve got to have this weekend to be me.

I’ll probably be at Sleep Out’s for Sunday brunch. There will also be a point where I’ll probably break off from the group and do my own thing. I’m not doing Sunday poker night. I may go to Blues City and see FreeWorld Sunday night, but I’m leaving it open until I get there. Not sure from where I’ll be viewing Monday’s fireworks, but I have 3 days to figure that out. Not sure whether I’ll do trivia Tuesday or something else, but I have 4 days to figure that out.

One thing’s for sure: I’m going to do exactly what I want for the next 4 days, not anything else, and I’m going to have a great time doing it. By Wednesday I will be recharged, energized, ready to go.

I’ll still be making blog posts throughout the weekend as the mood strikes me. The major announcement I promised will be posted sometime this afternoon.