Do you ever have an experience where a familiar word, like queue or other or word itself, suddenly loses its familiarity and becomes strange to you?
The experience can come by chance, though sometimes it’s possible to make it happen by staring for long enough.
What about with people? Moments when you turn towards those you know best, and who you love the most, and – for a moment – they are completely unfamiliar to you, suddenly – and inexplicably – strangers? How, we wonder, did you end up in my life?
So much of the world is this way to us – familiar in an easy, transparent manner, in which everything performs its function and nothing in particular stands out. And we go on in our ordinary way, responding to the world without having to pay much attention, without much by way of thought or connection.
But it’s when we’re prepared to make strange what is most obvious to us that the world, and people, in all their rarity, start to be apparent – present – to us.
And then all kinds of magic can happen.