YOUR FINGERS are tapping. You haven’t noticed it before, this jittery hand that no longer seems a part of your body. Then again, concentrating on anything seems to be hard of late. When someone speaks to you, all you see are lips moving, but you nod knowingly anyway and mumble, “ahhh, yeah, mmmhmmmm.”

But back to the hand. It’s tapping out a rhythm on your desk, some bouncy little ditty from your childhood. And now you notice your leg has this nervous tremor, but your hand is too busy tapping to stop it from shaking. Now you feel warm; you’re wind-starved in your stifling, claustrophobic office. You want to stand up, strip off your clothes and run out singing Julie Andrews songs, leaving your office workers agape but secretly envious.

You don’t need an HMO lackey to tell you your restlessness is spring fever in sensuous full-bloom. Running naked from the workplace might not be the best cure (trust us on this one), but then, who needs a cure? What you need is a plan to drag out this affliction as long as it can hold out. We have some suggestions, even though we had to sit chained to the keyboard to tell you.

Don’t ask, telecommute

We would never, ever recommend that you skip out on work. Why, that goes against all our Horatio-Algiers, American-productivity, rah-rah-for-the-GNP ethic. However, those of you who can, telecommute. Invest in that extra long-life battery and the neoprene cover to keep errant beach sand from getting in your laptop keyboard. Just remember you might get a rectangular white patch on your lap when you tan.

Those who can’t telecommute, improvise. Isn’t there a desperate need for office supplies or delivering that special package down that scenic backroad? Remember the primary principle of marketing: Create a need, then fill it.

Cultural immersion

Winter could be a time for indoor contemplation, but sometimes the little gray cells hibernate. Besides, who had time to think while they were building doomsday shelters and buying survivalist gear on top of all that holiday shopping? The world is still rotating undisturbed on its axis, so revive those hopes of visiting another country. Let the assimilation begin: Learn the language, watch the films, listen to the pop music and cook up dishes from that native cuisine. Really, Spam lasts forever.

And it’s a spring

and a hit

Hmmm, Arizona or the backyard hammock? The baseball fan is faced with this eternal dilemma every glorious spring either fly to spring training in Arizona or just kick back in the back yard (or park) and listen to a game on the radio Ah, the sunshine, the crack of the bat On a “grass-roots” level, hang out at a Little League game or play catch with your kids on the freshly mowed lawn (while barefoot, or course).

Learn about the birds and the butterflies

Dig in the dirt, roll around in it, get it under your fingernails. Make friends with the hummingbirds by planting fuchsias, hollyhocks, lilacs, lavender and birds of paradise. Do you like your butterflies young like the larval stage? Grow hollyhocks or sunflowers and wisteria. As for the birds and the bees, well, that’s something you need to ask mom.

Run wild through

the wildflowers

You hear them whispering, their petaled heads nodding seductively in the breeze. “Come, dance naked among us,” they murmur. No, it can’t be but is that tinkling from the canyon gooseberries shaking their little bell-like bodies? And the sound of tiny squeaky voices, isn’t that the yards and yards of gold fields screaming, “pick me! pick me!” OK, you’re hearing things. But, as long as you know that and you keep your shorts on and your body off the no-trespassing areas you can frolic at will.

Chase waterfalls

Talk about a surge of energy: Glorious waterfalls should last until late spring or early summer. Some of them empty into shallow streams, where you can kick off your shoes, roll up your pants and dip your tootsies in exhilaratingly cold water. The mother of all waterfalls around here is in Yosemite. However, the tootsie-dipping is much easier at the backyard cascades in the East Bay Regional Parks or on Mount Diablo.

Shop for pink

Who cares what your color wheel says change your plumage from winter grays to pink. If you’re wearing those hot pink board shorts (the best thing for buttocks since muumuus), don’t forget to invest in new razor blades to shave off that hairy winter coat (for you gals, anyway). Maybe throw in a pedicure to shape up those shameful hooves so you can wear your new sandals.

Pet soft critters

Bunnies, puppies, kittens, llamas smother yourself in cuteness. View them from a safe distance; don’t torture yourself by visiting these balls of fur at a shelter unless you’re ready to adopt. Baby koala Brandt just made his debut from mama’s pouch at the San Francisco Zoo. There’s the little farm in Tilden Park at Berkeley, and some farm creatures in Ardenwood Historic Farm at Fremont and the Oakland Zoo. All we ask is that you refrain from making those high-pitched dolphin noises when cooing.


the inner pack rat

Yeah, yeah, there’s spring cleaning but we’re talking about a household overhaul and spiritual cleansing, not pushing your piles from one end of the room to another. Schedule a block of time over two weekends, get the most ruthless friend or family member you know, label boxes or bags “recycle,” “trash,” “donate,” “sell” and “friends” for acquaintances who actually might want your leftovers pump up the music and purge, purge, purge. Don’t look back, don’t get misty-eyed and nostalgic and, most of all, don’t think, “one day this plastic bobbing-head replica of Selena will be worth something.” Let someone else get rich off it.

Sleep in

The daylight hours may be longer, but that doesn’t mean you have to soak up every second of them. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that showed after daylight-saving time, traffic accidents increased seven percent. It decreased the same amount after clocks return to standard time in the fall. So when spring is in full swing, sleep it off.