...You're the only one stupid enough to be flying today!"
Sometimes an ATC clearance comes back so fast that it communicates exactly that thought. Today was one of those days:
Me: ABC Tower, Nxxxxx seven North landing November.
ABC Tower: Nxxxxx cleared to land runway two two right.
The weather wasn't bad, just hot, 110F on the window thermometer.
Last time I heard such a clearance was about 15 years ago. A friend and I were heading to the SF Bay Area to visit our respective parental units. I was the pilot flying and he (a CFI) was running the radios. Unfortunately there was a cold front between point A and Point B and we were flying a 150 HP single on an IFR clearance at 12,000. Needless to say, there just isn't any reserve performance available at that altitude. Somewhere over the Mojave desert we hit a down draft (probably wave). I slowed to Vy, our best climb rate, but the VSI was still showed 1500 fpm down and the altimeter was showing 11,800. I asked my partner to get us a block altitude 10-12 thousand.
Again the block clearance came back so fast as to reflect the title of this post. I pushed the nose over to accelerate and escape the downdraft. We bottomed out at 10,300 then hit the updraft which pegged the VSI at +2000 fpm sendng us right back up to 12,000 feet.