Rob Greenfield: Hectic in New York City

We’ve been following Rob Greenfield as he makes his way cycling across the United States to promote sustainability.  I didn’t plan on putting up another post about him this week, but when he writes such an amazing journal entry….I can’t help but want to share it.

Have a look at Rob’s day in the hectic city of New York.

Off the Grid Update: Day 82

by Rob Greenfield


I don’t even remember today starting.  I guess this is life in the big city, where everything is hectic and everybody seems to know it.  Where it takes so much time to get around the big busy city that there is so much less time to be doing things you actually want to do.  I’ve found myself muttering under my breath annoyed with the people who were slower than me be it pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, or passengers on buses. It’s me, Rob Greenfield, I’ve been trucking it slowly across the country for the last 81 days and here I am muttering unnecessary words at the people moving slower than me on the street.  That is completely ridiculous.

I’ve been here for less than 48 hours and I can see that it is changing me.  My heart is beating at a faster pace and whole lot of excess energy is speeding around inside my chest.  It’s alright for me because I’m only here for a week but if I was here to stay I would be extremely anxious about what it’s doing to me and I would not be comfortable with staying here.  I am grateful for this opportunity to see the contrast and experience life from the perspective of a city person though.

The morning was a slow one and I hung out in Giulia’s apartment until close to noon writing and somewhat relaxing.  Even then though I felt hamsters spinning in their wheels inside my chest.  Imagine a hive of bees that eat nothing but hecticness (not a real word, I know) buzzing around in your chest and that’s what I felt.  Hectic, hectic, hectic.  That’s the word and the feeling flowing me from toe to toe, from hand to hand, and from ear to ear.  Busy, busy, busy.  I’ve got to be here and there and here right now and 15 minutes ago and in 20 minutes. This feeling doesn’t exist in the country life.  I had tentative plans with a handful of people and the buzzing bees inside me rattled those plans out my ears and back in through my nose and then back out through the tiny little holes in the corner of my eyes.

Feeling hectic yet?  You’re not even here.  Remember? You’re sitting at your computer right now.

Navigating the city was a freaken ball.  I love riding my bike through this concrete playground with all sorts of obstacles to dodge and speed past.  All sorts of weird looking and beautiful humans to look at.  All sorts of buildings to grab my attention.  All sorts of stimulation for my mind.  But with that being said I was completely dependent on the maps on my iPhone to get me the heck out of Manhattan.  My cell phone died so I had to bust out my solar panel and sit on a curb while I waited for it to charge back up enough for it to turn on.  I decided to forget all the tentative plans I had and take refuge in Greg’s place back in Brooklyn.  I needed to harness the energy of the sun anyway and my big solar panel was back there.  It took an hour this time to bike over the Brooklyn Bridge.  Stressful?  Yes.  Enjoyable?  Yes.

After I crossed the bridge for the third time the skies unleashed a load of pure water and the streets were soon running with it, probably not so pure anymore.  It was exactly what I wanted.  Rain to feed my dehydrated cells. Rain to nourish my brain so I could think straight.  Rain to wash the sweat and dirt from my body.  It wasn’t the right timing though as I couldn’t harvest the water in large quantities but I took advantage of it as much as I could.  It would have been blissful if I didn’t have a backpack with my expensive computer in it to protect.  My human body can take all the rain the skies can throw at me and then dry off naturally when the rain ceases but with material possessions to protect I didn’t feel free to bask in the glory of the rain.  I still embraced it and even found a spout coming out from church that was sending a waterfall down to the ground below.  I filled my quart sized water bottle two times from the flow and drank it all in. That half-gallon would certainly get me peeing clearly in no time I thought.  The flow even lasted long enough to allow me to shower underneath it and soap up with my Dr. Bronner’s soap.

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