Everyone says this decade was the decade from hell, the lost decade [read: Bush], but also the decade of tantalizing evolution [read: Obama]. The capital was the crucible for this paradox. Living the Aughts in the District was like magic realism, like heightened reality, a fever dream the rest of the world was having. The plane that plowed into the Pentagon carried some of the area's brightest and incinerated some of its bravest, sending our neighbors into battle. In this decade, we built a grand memorial to the Greatest Generation but didn't properly care for the current generation at Walter Reed. We cheered the inauguration of a black man as leader of the free world, even as the capital's HIV rates hovered higher than West Africa's.