I used to fly a lot of long-haul for work in a previous life, and my general and extensively tested policy, to which I still firmly subscribe, is always to behave as if I had already landed, particularly when traversing significant longitudinal slices of our little planet: set the watch ahead or back; go to sleep or stay awake; eat or don’t eat; whatever it is, you want to get your melon out of where ever it is that you’re leaving and into your soon-to-be native time zone as quickly as possible.
So, for instance, because I’m writing this from London’s Heathrow airport at 730am GMT on Saturday, and because I’m headed to Sonoma County where it’s still 1130pm PDT on Friday, I said ‘yes’ to the single-malt tasting offered by the dude at World of Whiskey. Now I’m not entirely sure that that justifies pairing my a double espresso with a shot for breakfast, but I’m sort of desperate, because the last time I did a walkabout along the Healdsburg-London axis, the jet lag kicked my ass something fierce.
I think Cayce Pollard, the protagonist of William Gibson’s brilliant and eerily prophetic Pattern Recognition and some of my most enduring literary fantasies, says it best:
[H]er mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some
ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that
brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the
Atlantic. Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and
must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.
Like a fine dish with just the right number of flavors, sometimes it’s best not to over-complicate what already works so well, so I’m just going to leave that out there, the perfect encapsulation of how I’m sure to feel when I touch down at SFO, sitting squarely on the ass-end of and 8-hour clock shift.