Meaning of “Louie”, Episode 1: The School Bus Scene

This is part one of “Meaning of Louie Episode 1″,  the bus scene, in which Louie describes the stress of parenting and describes his unique approach to raising his daughters. In part two, The Date Scenein which Louie describes the gradual end of his marriage and difficulty maintaining a relationship.

Scene: Louie chaperones his daughter’s class field-trip to the Botanical Gardens. He expects to be a passive participant on the field trip.  He’s surprised, however, when the  bus driver expects Louie to have directions to the garden.

What it means:  The bus driver is behind the wheel but Louie is piloting the ship. As a father, he’s responsible for his child’s place in the world.  Nobody, not even the bus driver, will give the answers. His daughter is a relaxed passenger on the bus of life, free to feel excited after every move. She lives a carefree life while Louie keeps the stress to himself.

Scene: Louie calls the Bronx Botanical Gardens, explains he’s on a school bus, and asks for directions from the West Side Highway.  The woman on the other line informs Louie that driving a bus on the West Side Highway is illegal. Louie asks the bus driver why he didn’t know this rule. The bus driver responds that he was just following Louie’s directions.

What it means: Louie can only blame himself for the bus accident – he said take the West Side Highway. He can’t depend on anyone to teach him every rule of the parental road. He must make decisions on the fly. Not all his decisions will be right. Every mistake he makes could endanger his child.

Scene: After blowing a tire, the school bus is stuck somewhere in Harlem. Louie demands to know why the bus driver is so apathetic about transporting children. The bus driver is annoyed by the accusation. He abandons the bus and Louie.

What it means: Louie is yelling at the bus driver but he’s talking to himself. Louie became a parent after doing “nothing” (more or less.) There are no qualifications to fulfill before becoming a parent. He must constantly live up to the demands of being a father. Every life failure Louie now shares with his daughter. If he chooses to take the wrong highway, his daughter will be stuck on the road. If he doesn’t make enough money, his child will wake up living in a bad neighborhood. If he decides he wants to run away and hide in Florida, his daughter will grow up without a father. Everything is up to Louie.

Scene: The teacher and Louie each attempt to take control of the bus. At first Louie tries to camouflage the bus by having the darker skin children sit near the windows. The teacher is offended by this shameless maneuver. She believes the group should go find a subway. Louie disagrees and, with help from a friend, orders a private car for every child.

What it means: The teacher is a partner in guarding these children (like a mother.) Each chaperone (or parent) has a distinct way of handling problems. They don’t always agree. Louie’s parenting style may not be politically correct but he comes from an honest place – he wants to protect his children. Sometimes he’ll rely on creativity (and money) to get the parenting job done.  It’s not how everyone would parent but it works for Louie.

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