Arnold Friend arrives at Connie’s house in his car, and Connie notices that not only is it battered from a previous accident, but also that it is marked with sentences, such as “DONE BY CRAZY DRIVER”; Friend’s own name; and the numbers 33,19,17, which appear to reference a verse in the Bible, which reads “When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, ‘Where are you going? Where did you come from?’” This seems a possible clue regarding Friend’s possibly supernatural identity. Friend continually asks Connie to come for a ride in the car; it is the means by which he will take her away from her home, and, by extension, her family and her life as a teenager. In this way, getting into the car will bring an end to Connie’s childhood innocence. As Friend’s own name is written on the car, it is clear that it functions as a direct extension of Friend himself and his intentions. The car is also another aspect of Friend’s disguise: like his clothes and the music he claims to love, it is intended to make him seem normal and unthreatening to Connie. Ultimately, however, as Connie notices that one of the phrases painted on his car is outdated, it functions as a clue that Friend is older than he says and not what he appears to be.
Arnold Friend’s Car Quotes in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
She drew her shoulders up and sucked in her breath with the pure pleasure of being alive, and just at that moment she happened to glance at a face just a few feet from hers. It was a boy with shaggy black hair, in a convertible jalopy painted gold. He stared at her and then his lips widened into a grin. Connie slit her eyes at him and turned away, but she couldn't help glancing back and there he was, still watching her. He wagged a finger and laughed and said, “Gonna get you, baby,” and Connie turned away again without Eddie noticing anything.
“Now, these numbers are a secret code, honey,” Arnold Friend explained. He read off the numbers 33, 19, 17 and raised his eyebrows at her to see what she thought of that, but she didn't think much of it.