I always feel like when you’re on Pacific time, you’re teetering right at the end of the world. You wake up on Monday morning and the whole day is already happening for everybody else. New York’s buzzing. Europe is thinking about leaving work. Australia’s basically on Tuesday already.
Back when I was in newspapers, I worked for London but lived in California: My day would often begin in the early hours — maybe three or four in the morning, certainly no later than 6a.m.— with a phone call from HQ. To them, the world was already turning, it was my job to keep up.
Then, when I moved back to England but was working with teams based on the West Coast, my day was done by the time they started — or at least it was supposed to be over. I would end up working until midnight or later just to keep in sync.
Now, back in San Francisco again, but working more sociable hours, the truth is that the jetlag never quite goes away. My family are still in the U.K., so many friends are two, three, eight, nine hours distant, that I can never quite escape the feeling of trying to keep up.
But you do learn to appreciate its shape.
There’s a beautiful moment, between 10p.m. and midnight when my world goes quiet. New Yorkers have gone to sleep, Europeans haven’t started their day yet, and the only sounds I can hear are the people around me.
It doesn’t last long: A few seconds later somebody tweets, or messages, or wakes from their slumber. But then, right then at that very tiny slip of silence, teetering right at the very end of the world feels pretty amazing.