I'm VFR approaching a busy airport with published VFR arrivals. The controller tells me to "expect direct H (other airport) then direct another landmark." Other airport is approximately a 90 degree turn away from my destination, but okay, I'm expecting that now. I put it in the GPS, even.
And at this point I need a clearance into the airspace ahead of me, but I haven't been given one. I ask, "Did you want me to fly direct airport H now?"
I think he said, "Yes, please," which is even less standard radio language than using the past tense to form a polite question. So I turned direct airport H and descended as instructed.
Another controller than told me to expect the SomethingOrOther Arrival, which I'd already looked up. That arrival requires me to fly direct Landmark A, then on reaching it turn direct Landmark B, and at B tune the next frequency and fly direct Landmark C. It allows the controllers to create a conga line of arriving aircraft without clogging the frequency with explicit instructions to each. But when I'm told to expect something, shouldn't I wait to be given it?
In this case I don't wait. I turn direct Landmark A, with the feeling that I'm going to get yelled at, but I don't, and when told to call the next frequency, I tell them I'm direct Landmark A at altitude. That controller clears me the SomethingOrOther Arrival. Which I was expecting.
But I mean really, shouldn't there be a difference between "Fly direct A, expect direct B" and "Expect direct A then direct B"? Is this a new rule I missed? An old rule I never knew? Am I supposed to automatically behave as though I have already received what I expect? Is that why I have a blog instead of a career?