After working straight through the night contributing to a BBC Radio election special, all I wanted to do was get some sleep. But as soon as my head hit the pillow, the phone rang in my Manhattan flat. My boss ordered me to get up, pack my bag and head straight to the airport. "This election isn't over," he told me. "You're going to Florida."
A panicked exit ensued, complicated by the need to wake a friend in the early hours and plead with her to look after my cat. Then it was off to New York's La Guardia airport.
It was November 2000 and the future of the world's most powerful nation hung in the balance. The election had been too close to call.
Whether Democrat Al Gore or Republican George W Bush would take over the White House from the departing Bill Clinton came down to what election officials made of the "hanging chads", the partial perforations in Florida's ballot papers which might indicate a voter's intention to go one way or another.
I ended up in Tallahassee, the Florida state capital which feels more like the neighbouring states of the American deep South than the tourist destinations further down the peninsula.
You could sense the tension as each candidate's envoy argued their case amid crowds of protesters and a swirling media pack. Eventually, after five weeks of recounts and legal challenges, George W Bush was declared the winner.
In the early stages of this year's US election campaign, I wondered whether a re-run of those extraordinary events of 20 years ago might be on the cards.
But as polling day has drawn closer, it looks more likely Joe Biden will put clear water between himself and Donald Trump.
Barring a last-minute shock, swing state after swing state seems to be turning Democrat blue. As in 2000, there may be a delay. However, this will be down to counting the extraordinary number of postal, or "mail in", votes cast by people fearful the pandemic might make it too risky to leave matters until polling day.
If the 2000 election doesn't look like providing useful parallels for what might happen after next Tuesday, then harking back to an earlier vote, which put Bill Clinton into office, might.
In 1992, as now, the challenger seemed poised to topple the incumbent. Then, as now, the potential fall-out regarding Northern Ireland gave Downing Street a headache.
During the 1992 campaign, John Major made a serious error by allowing Conservative strategists to campaign for the incumbent George Bush Snr and even letting the Home Office assist in a trawl of the files held on the challenger, Bill Clinton, dating back to when he was a student at Oxford.
The UK paid for this when the Clinton team gave British emissaries the cold shoulder. Although they subsequently made up, the frosty start to their relationship provided the backdrop to President Clinton ignoring John Major's objections and pressing ahead with his decision to give Gerry Adams a US visa prior to the IRA ceasefire.
Today, Boris Johnson is also viewed as close to the Brexit-backing President Trump. With the polls skewing towards Joe Biden, Downing Street is concerned that it cannot fix meetings with Democrat policy advisers to discuss a potential UK-US trade deal.
The candidate himself has tweeted that the Good Friday Agreement cannot be allowed "to become a casualty of Brexit", adding that "any trade deal between the US and the UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border".
The echo of the 1990s became all the more clear when Nancy Soderberg - a key Clinton official involved in the Adams visa decision - told BBC's Newsnight that the UK had shown a "callous disregard" for the Good Friday Agreement in the way it has handled Brexit. She labelled Downing Street's current policy as "frankly irresponsible".
Some unionists view the tensions over Brexit in the context of the slightly lame joke then Vice President Biden cracked at a St Patrick's Day event in Washington DC six years ago.
"Anyone who is wearing orange is not welcome here," he quipped to the discomfiture of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, before adding, "Only joking." This might help explain why pro-Brexit unionists, like Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson, declared their hand so enthusiastically for President Trump.
Divided opinions played out on a recent BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight debate, as the Green MLA Clare Bailey expressed her hope that a Biden presidency might provide more stability here. By contrast, the TUV’s Jim Allister accused Biden of failing to understand that the Good Friday Agreement does not include any clauses on cross-border trade. One local politician who has known Joe Biden since the 1980s insists he is, in fact, knowledgeable about the peace process and will prove fair to both communities here. The former SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell used to drop into Biden’s office on Capitol Hill when he was a Senator representing Delaware.
Dr McDonnell says he is “absolutely over the moon” about the prospect of the Democrat candidate securing victory, describing him as a “very humble guy”, who hails from an Irish-American coal mining family in Scranton, a city in the election battleground state of Pennsylvania.
Dr McDonnell insists his friend would “be very good for Ireland without being hostile towards Britain”, describing a potential Biden presidency as a “win-win situation”.
The former SDLP leader explains the Vice President’s quip about “anyone wearing Orange” away as the words of a man who “is full of banter and full of devilment”, claiming the candidate would be “as well disposed towards a unionist as anyone else”.
You don’t need to take a former nationalist politician’s word on this.
At a White House St Patrick’s reception during Barack Obama’s term of office, after the President and the First Lady and the Taoiseach had long gone, Vice President Biden stuck around chatting to guests, including Shankill Road community worker Debbie Watters.
Ms Watters spent 20 minutes with the Vice President talking about her experience of working-class Protestant communities and the limited economic dividend the peace process had provided for areas like the Shankill. She came away “very impressed with his knowledge of the Northern Irish context”.
Biden asked “a lot of insightful and intelligent questions” and “definitely has a real interest in the underdog”, appreciating the need to pay attention “not only to the perceived winners of the peace process, but also the perceived losers”.
Debbie Watters is a pioneer of restorative justice, applying lessons she learned working in the US state of Indiana to the cases she deals with in loyalist west Belfast.
She “doesn’t think Protestants have anything to fear” from Joe Biden, adding that Protestants “need to reach out and make sure our voice is heard” within an Irish-American culture where often that hasn’t been the case.
Caroline Feeney — a former intern for Hillary Clinton — told BBC Northern Ireland’s The View her Democrat contacts are predicting that, should he win, a future President Biden will travel to both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.
Carlingford in Co Louth, where Joe Biden has family roots, is an obvious destination. But Debbie Watters would like to welcome the man she chatted to inside the White House back to her home patch.
“I’d love to see him on the Shankill,” Ms Watters told me. “I think he would be made very welcome. I don’t think this is a Catholic/Protestant issue. I think this is about someone who is interested in people who lack a voice.
“Whether it’s the Shankill or another loyalist community, I say bring it on.”
Mark Devenport joined BBC Northern Ireland in 1986 and went on to become political editor in 2001. He also presented BBC Radio Ulster’s longest-running political programme, Inside Politics. He took voluntary redundancy from the Corporation earlier this month