In 1991, The Rocket Scientist and I were tooling around Australian backroads, hurrying to make up lost time between Sydney and Parkes, where the Australian radio telescopes were.  In the middle of one stretch running through towering eucalyptus trees was a sign….

“Chinchilla Races, 2 km”

….with an arrow pointing down a small, gravel road.

We talked about it.  Who ever heard of racing chinchillas? It might be great, it might be awful, but it would certainly be unique.  In the end, though, we decided we just did not have enough time for a detour. And ever since, have vaguely regretted that decision.

So “chinchilla race” entered my vocabulary.  A chinchilla race is something out of the way, or curiously odd, or otherwise out of the ordinary.  Something that, if you fail to follow through on or seek out, you might later regret.

Like seeing your kid’s first major invitational, even if it means you drive six hours for a twenty-minute race, just to see his exultant face when he finishes with his fastest time ever for a 5k race.

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