I’d recommend reading David S. Goodsell’s The Machinery of Life as an introductory text. He’s an amazing artist and I think communicates the rapidly moving soup that is the cell quite well.
Some passages I have highlighted:
On average, though, it will only take about a second for those two molecules to bump into each other at least once. This is truly remarkable: this means that any molecule in a typical bacterial cell, during its chaotic journey through the cell, will encounter almost every other molecule in a matter of seconds. So as you are looking at the illustrations in this book, remember that static images give only a single snapshot of this teeming molecular world. (pg 6)
Cells are amazingly crowded, typically with 25–35% of the space filled by large molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. As you might imagine, these molecules get in the way of each other. This has two seemingly opposite affects on the function of molecules. First, larger molecules have more trouble diffusing through the cellular environment, since they are constantly blocked by neighbors. This slows the motion of each molecule, so it takes longer for two molecules to find each other. However, countering this effect, crowded environments tend to favor the association of molecules once they have found each other. Since they are constantly crowded together by neighboring molecules, they spend more time next to each other and are far more likely to find the proper orientation for interaction. This property tends to favor association of molecules into big complexes in crowded environments, rather than filling the cell with lots of separate molecules. (pg 25)
Cells live in a world of thick, viscous water, almost oblivious to gravity. When moving from place to place, most of their energy is spent trying to push through the gooey liquid, not in lifting their weight up from the ground. For example, Howard Berg presented a surprising observation in his 1976 lecture ‘‘Life at Low Reynolds Number.’’ Escherichia coli cells swim using long corkscrew-shaped flagella, which act like propellers. The cells push their way through the water, typically moving about 30 mm/s (30 mm is 10 or 15 times the length of the cell). But, when they stop turning the flagella, they don’t keep coasting along the way a ship or submarine would. Instead, the surrounding water instantly stops them in less than the diameter of a water molecule. (pg 65)
In a typical cell, 20–40% of newly synthesized proteins will be destroyed within an hour (pg 110)