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The Ex-Files: The Cosmic Detective Turns Off, Tunes Out, and Drops Down

After spending too much time in Tinseltown, I realized I needed to get away from it all. Away from the headaches of Hollywood. The heartache of my profession. The emotional smog that was polluting my spirit. And so I booked a flight to Big Sky country. Over the years I've discovered that nothing soothes my senses quite like a retreat in the Montana wilderness.

At first, I was slightly annoyed that my cell phone lost reception upon entering the mighty Tetons. I was also mildly peeved when I discovered the only internet connection within 50 miles was dial-up. Then I had an epiphany. I was not here to connect with the outside world. I was here to disconnect.

I rented a secluded cabin on the edge of nowhere. The Gallatin River ran right outside my porch, and the tree-lined mountains enveloped me the way Queen Latifah's bosom - pre-reduction surgery - once had. I put myself on a strict news fast, ignoring the transistor radio in the kitchen and the black-and-white TV in the study. And soon enough, I found peace in silence, reclaiming my personal passion for trash novels and huckleberry jam.

This was the life, I decided. I hiked. I rode horses. I braved the river rapids on a solo raft trip (not my finest hour - I believe my screams are still echoing in the canyon somewhere). I even found a quaint basement Pilates studio nearby where I stretched and breathed my way to nirvana alongside a forest ranger and an elderly woman on vacation from the Miami humidity.

I knew eventually I'd have to leave this safe haven. The itch of a good story, the sniff of a solid lead was too much to resist for a dedicated dick like me. But for now, the only sense I was interested in honing was common sense. A second marriage for Britney or not, I was on a much-needed hiatus.

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