Don't ask questions and don't show that you care.
Why did I dole out a two-for-one here? It's because one inevitably leads to the other. If you ask enough questions, you'll inevitably start to care, and if you start to care, you'll wind up asking questions that'll eventually amp up the level of caring even more. It's a twisted cycle of humanity and unselfishness that always leads to a painfully bitter end.
I simply speak from experience here. There's one particular customer I routinely delivered to that's falls into this bit of wisdom perfectly. I delivered a pizza to them and their half million dollar home for over seven years. It was always the same middle-aged couple that would order the same medium pepperoni and sausage pizza, habanero wings and 2-liter of coke every Friday for nearly a decade. I was the closing driver on Friday nights, so naturally this meant that I would more-often-than-not get saddled with this distantly located destination. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. They were courteous and kickass tippers. In fact, there were only two real quirks to this address. The first is that the couple lived on a hill that was set at a 55 degree angle, or for those of you that are mathematically challenged: it was steep enough that if your Pabst Blue Ribbon slipped out of your hand at the summit, you'd be shit out of luck. That aluminum can that I'm convinced is filled with urine and the tears of IPA connoisseurs would be crossing county lines before you could yell "party foul." The couple even inserted directions into their order that stated that we shouldn't drive up the driveway. They advised us to park at the bottom and grab an oxygen tank for what would wind up being the equivalent of a heavy leg day at the gym, or as I like to call it, a Sickle Celled sufferer's worst nightmare. Just ask Steeler's DB Ryan Clark how his oxygen-less journeys to Mile High Stadium went. His spleen and gallbladder weren't fans. Understandably too, considering that they're a distant memory on operating room floor.That's essentially what my calves felt like after lugging six pounds of food up the cliff face that they had masquerading as their driveway.
The second delivery oddity is that only the wife would answer the door. She would walk to the door, recite the same kindhearted greeting she always did, tip five to seven dollars and then send us on our merry little barely employable way. I guess that's not an oddity, but it was uncanny how similar every transaction with her turned out to be. The same platitudes would be recited at the same goddamn place and around the same goddamn time every single week. I'm convinced that they didn't even fancy our food. I'm pretty sure that they ordered just to fulfill the OCD voices that were rattling around in their severely routine based skulls.
Anyway, one evening I noticed that the couple's order only included a 20oz bottle of the liquid weight gain known as Coke instead of the CamelBak worth of the shit that they usually ordered. Like I said before, they always ordered a 2-liter, so I knew something was up when I saw that 20oz bottle staring at me. In my always astonishing intellectual brilliance, I realized the mistake that I'm guessing one of our new cooks made, and grabbed both a 20oz and a 2-liter bottle on my way out. I rather be safe and wrong than have to hire another Sherpa to lead me the whole 12 miles back to the summit of Stall Your Car Mountain for another couple of cups worth of Diabetes in a can. Worst case scenario is that I would come back with a warm soda to restock in the cooler after an ultimately successful delivery.
Nothing unusual happened on my way out there or on the journey to the top of the hill. Well, besides the destruction of my knees and the increased degeneration of every ligament in my lower body, but besides having to intermittently apply Icy Hot to every bit of available skin below my waist just to keep me moving, everything went pretty smoothly. When I knocked on the door, I was met with the always present and chipper wife and we even exchanged our standard superficial conversation. After our polite introductions, I handed her the order and mentioned, "I saw you ordered a 20oz bottle of coke instead of a 2-liter. I know you usually order the larger bottle. I have the 2-liter in my car, did you want me to go get it?" Without missing a beat the woman replied with a nonchalant, "No. The 20oz bottle is right. I don't need a 2-liter any more. My husband died, so I don't need all that sugar anymore now that he's gone." She then smiled and sent me on my way. I couldn't backtrack fast enough. There was nothing I could say. I thought I was doing someone a solid by memorizing their order and attempting to course correct on the fly. Who would have thought that I would get hit with a happy-go-lucky proclamation about a dead spouse for my effort.
This is why you shouldn't ask questions or care. I showed initiative, skilled memorization and I even attempted to avoid what could have been an obvious order taking error, and yet that was the response I got. I'm not blaming the customer. She had enough on her plate. Not missing a beat while informing me of her husband's passing was a little peculiar and all, but the onus falls squarely on me for trying to overachieve. If I would have simply allowed my narcissistic tunnel vising to consume my outlook on the world around me, I could have successfully avoided the uncomfortable exchange entirely. This goes for everybody and everything. Don't care or try. If you do, you will be socially punished. And asking questions only leads to caring, so just remember to keep everyone at arm's reach, check your phone constantly so as to show zero awareness and 100% selfishness, and just keep moving on with your life in a blissfully ignorant haze. It's the only solution to what is guaranteed to otherwise be immense verbal pain and the untimely slaughtering of your sanity.