Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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One day I decide to take a break from my normally regimented schedule and just wander through an area of town where "there's nothing to see". It turns out there are things to see, such as this friendly volleyball match between four boys. In a littered clearing between cramped housing is a packed-dirt court overstrung by a slightly-tattered volleyball net. On each side of the net are two older boys (or younger men, my eye isn't trained to discern well), vying for control of a small, hard, wicker ball. The ball is probably as big as a grapefruit and made of a woven wicker, so it's more like a wiffleball than anything else I've ever seen. The rules look to be about the same as the volleyball with which I'm familiar, with one glaring exception: you can't use your hands. For anything. As a result, all serves, bumps, sets, and spikes are performed with acrobatic flips and impossible flexibility. The more impressive moves were impossible to catch on film, and just a "normal" return is shown in the picture.

When asked if I'd like to play (at least, I think that's what they were asking, given the extents of our unshared language), I politely declined.

On occasion I find it necessary to just step back and take pictures of "nothing", just the things I see when not seeing anything in particular. This is of the canal/alley I was following when I saw the volleyball players, just off-camera to the right. Between the court and the canal is a long, overlapping series of low plastic and tight-knit chain-link fence, guarding against the ball rolling into the water.

Copyright 2021 - David Barrett -