The echoes of jet lag in the half-light of a Swedish winter day

The opening lines to Pattern Recognition by William Gibson.

Five hours’ New York jet lag and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm. …

She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien’s theory of jet lag is correct: that her 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.

Eugenia Sheppard, New York Herald Tribune News Service, March 4, 1965

From then on, there’s no quick cure for jet lag, described by various sufferers as “like a long hangover,” “like dancing out of step,”  and “like feeling as if there were a huge sheet of plate glass between you and the world.”




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